Governor Brown lifts drought emergency, retains prohibition on wasteful practices

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08 April, 2017

The 2014 emergency order had required 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.

Gov. Jerry Brown made official on Friday what anyone who happened to be looking out a window at yet another soggy Sacramento morning may have suspected: The California drought is over.

State regulators say bans on wasteful water practices are still in place through November.

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.

Governor Brown has rescinded the drought state of emergency he declared 3-years ago, but declared “Conservation must remain a way of life.”.

The governing boards of water suppliers no longer need to submit water plans every year predicting how they would perform during a drought of three years, said Felicia Marcus, chair of the state water board.

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Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order Friday lifting California's drought emergency in all but four counties. It also dried up wells, forcing hundreds of families in rural areas to drink bottled water and bathe from buckets. Brown said emergency drinking water projects will continue to help with diminished ground water supplies. The state saw precipitation levels that were 184 percent above average.

Urban Californians responded to the drought with a almost 25 percent average reduction in water use across the state.

But what's really disturbing is that most of that water - billions of gallons of it - flowed unchecked into the ocean because California hasn't gotten around to ensuring there are enough ways to capture and store it.

"Technically, the drought is over, but this framework extends and expands our dry-year habits", DWR Director Bill Croyle said. And that happened even though most municipal water agencies have backed away from the conservation mandates that Brown once pushed.

FILE - In this January 3, 2017, file photo, Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources, plunges the survey tube into the snowpack as he conducts the first snow survey of the season at Phillips Station near Echo Summit, Calif. Calif. Gov.


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