California governor lifts drought emergency

That allowed Brown to lift most stipulations of an emergency order he implemented in January 2014, about two years after the conditions crossed the line into drought.

"Our customers around the state took the drought seriously and reduced their water use by 26 percent", said Richard Svindland, President of California American Water.

"We are glad to see the governor's action today to lift the drought emergency declaration for most of the state".

Some restricted activities, like blatantly wasteful irrigation (runoff), watering during and 48 hours after rain and washing down sidewalks and hardscapes will be permanently prohibited by the State and by DWA pursuant to the agency's conservation ordinance, district officials said in a release. Water-reporting requirements remained in place, according to the statement, as did prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during rainfall.

As California's population grows, the most efficient way to stretch and ensure water is to conserve, Kostyrko said.

The drought cost the agricultural economy billions, killed an estimated 100 million trees, led a half-million acres of farmland to be fallowed and deprived some communities of reliable sources of drinking water.

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Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to California's historic drought Friday, lifting emergency orders that had forced residents to stop running sprinklers as often and encouraged them to rip out thirsty lawns during the state's driest four-year period on record.

Jerry Brown declared an end to the state's drought emergency on Friday after powerful storms quenched the state following four extraordinarily dry years that drained reservoirs and wells, devastated forests and farmland and forced millions of people to slash their water use.

In the counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, emergency drinking water programs will stay in place.

Desert Water Agency General Manager Mark Krause said, "We're very proud of the efforts made during the statewide drought".

For five years, the state endured significantly less rain than normal, cutting into the water supply and forcing the state to impose strict limits on water use. California officials will also continue working to contain an outbreak of bark beetles that are killing trees throughout the state. The reversal was swift: As of this week, just 1 percent of the state is still in severe drought, compared to 74 percent of the state one year ago.

  • Ronnie Bowen