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Gov. Brown declares drought over, issues conservation orders

08 April 2017

After more than five years of drought in California, The Golden State on Friday lifted the drought state of emergency.

Even Brown was circumspect in his dramatic announcement: "This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner".

On Friday, the Democratic governor lifted the drought declaration in all counties except four, mostly in the state's agricultural Central Valley. "Conservation must remain a way of life".

Technical assistance, financial incentives and standards to guide water suppliers' efforts to detect and fix leaks.

Brown said temporary reporting requirements for cities that were implemented during the drought will remain, as will bans on watering during or right after rainfall and hosing down driveways.

Front lawns revived to bright green in neighborhoods throughout the state and rivers that had become dry beds of sand and gravel are now charged with water swelling up in their banks.

Monster storms this winter erased almost all signs of drought, blanketing the Sierra Nevada with deep snow, California's key water source, and boosted reservoirs.

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California was prompted to review its "drought status" after the DWR's latest manual snow survey on March 30 found a season-high snow-water equivalent of 46.1 inches in the Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe, or 183 percent of average for this time of year, agency spokesman Doug Carlson told the Capital Press.

The drought spanned water years 2012 through 2016 and included the driest four-year statewide precipitation on record (2012 to 2015).

In response, Brown declared a state of emergency in January of 2014 to ease the burden on the state's water supplies. This plan builds on that success to establish long-term conservation measures.

The drought was responsible for reducing farm production, killing 100 million trees, harming wildlife, lowering ground-water basins while severely depleting water supplies in several rural communities forced to rely on bottled water provided by the state.

No part of the state was experiencing the two worst categories of drought, and only about 1 percent, in Imperial County along the Mexico border, was in "severe drought". It also killed millions of trees and diminished groundwater levels.

The governor's proclamation comes after one of the wettest and snowiest winters in the state's recorded history.