California's drought is over: Gov. Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown declared Friday, on the heels of a very wet winter and more than three years after an initial declaration of a statewide emergency.

The State of California press statement said state agencies have released a plan to make conservation a way of life in California, per Brown's request.

Brown's order maintains numerous conservation practices put in place in 2015, including mandatory reports on water usage, restrictions on using nonrecirculated water in fountains and bans on watering lawns within 48 hours of significant rainfall. Water suppliers still must report their water use.

Although the Drought State of Emergency is over, the governor wants Californians to maintain water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices, such as watering during or right after it rains. "The emergency is over and we should applaud that, but keep in mind that water efficiency is a California way of life".

While we fully support the plan's proposal to extend water planning requirements to more agricultural water suppliers, it keeps intact almost all of the draft's flawed ideas for improving agricultural water efficiency, including a misguided fixation on getting agricultural water districts (which supply irrigation water to farms) to complete complicated water budgets.

Drought conditions had persisted in the state for five years.

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Jerry Brown has officially declared an end to the state's yearslong drought. The governor's executive orders mandating continued, long-term water savings were appropriate, "but this power should not be abused", state Sen.

New regulations making water-conservation measures permanent are now being created by the state water board and the state Legislature, said Max Gomberg, the water board's conservation and climate change manager.

Monster storms this winter doused the Sierra Nevada with a record snowpack, a key California water source, and boosted reservoirs to normal levels.

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. California officials will also continue working to contain an outbreak of bark beetles that are killing trees throughout the state.

While the drought emergency has ended, certain restrictions on water use will remain.

  • Darren Santiago