California’s five-year drought is over, governor declares
California Gov. Jerry Brown has officially declared an end to the state’s yearslong drought.
The governor signed an executive order Friday that lifted the state of emergency declaration he signed in 2014, which directed the state to take “all necessary actions” to prepare for drought conditions.
The latest order also rescinds four previous drought-related executive orders and two emergency proclamations. The order does not lift, however, the drought emergency in four counties — Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne — which still face low groundwater supplies.
Brown’s latest action follow months of heavy precipitation that filled reservoirs and ended dry conditions in many areas.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, only about 8 percent of California remains in a drought. By comparison, over 90 percent of the state faced drought conditions a year ago.
Despite these improvements, the state noted that California’s five-year drought will have lingering effects.
According to the governor’s office, the lack of precipitation reduced farm production in some regions, harmed wildlife and disrupted drinking water supplies. It also killed millions of trees and diminished groundwater levels.
The National Weather Service is also warning dry pockets are expected to persist through June.
As a precaution, the governor’s executive order aims to build on water conservation efforts state agencies have put in place. This includes prohibiting wasteful water practices and requiring urban water districts to report water use.
“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said in a statement. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”