The California drought is officially over, but next could be ‘around the corner’
The California drought is officially over, but next could be ‘around the corner’.
“Conservation must remain a way of life.” The governor lifted the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies.
“There’s a greater appreciation of just how precious water is,” she said.
“We’ve got to plan for longer droughts.” Cities and water districts throughout the state will be required to continue reporting their water use each month, said the governor’s order, which also bans wasteful practices, such as hosing off sidewalks and running sprinklers when it rains.
The drought strained native fish that migrate up rivers, killed millions of trees, and forced farmers in the country’s leading agricultural state to rely heavily on groundwater, with some tearing out orchards.
Brown declared the drought emergency in 2014, and officials later ordered mandatory conservation for the first time in state history.
Regulators last year relaxed the rules after a rainfall was close to normal.
But monster storms this winter erased nearly all signs of drought, blanketing the Sierra Nevada with deep snow, California’s key water source, and boosting reservoirs.
Atkins said she still received calls from people whose wells were running dry and needed a tank and bottled water.
“In no way is it over,” she said of the drought.