California governor declares end to drought emergency
Even Brown was circumspect in his dramatic announcement: "This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner". "Conservation must remain a way of life".
An unprecedented amount of water conservation and a very wet winter have officially ended California's historic drought, the governor announced Friday.
The drought that began in 2011 included the driest four-year statewide precipitation on record (2012-2015) and the smallest Sierra snowpack on record (2015, with 5 percent of average).
But monster storms this winter erased almost all signs of drought, blanketing the Sierra Nevada with deep snow, California's key water source, and boosting reservoirs.
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In response, Brown declared a state of emergency in January of 2014 to ease the burden on the state's water supplies. The damage will continue to affect the state for years, the governor stated. Natural Resources Defense Council senior water policy analyst Tracy Quinn argued that the near-failure of a spillway at Oroville Dam demonstrated the vulnerability of the state's water system and reinforces the need for efficiency. Back in 2014, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency in the state. Now, those restrictions are no longer required by the State Water Resources Control Board, which has carried out the governor's orders for the last three years, said Dan Arrighi, manager of water resources at the San Gabriel Valley Water Co., a large, for-profit water retailer. Water-reporting requirements remained in place, according to the statement, as did prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during rainfall. "And we have to be concerned about the groundwater supply", which was taxed during the drought.
The drought strained native fish that migrate up rivers, and forced farmers in the nation's leading agricultural state to rely heavily on groundwater, causing the ground to sink.
Requiring urban water suppliers to prepare water shortage contingency plans, including a drought risk assessment every five years.
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