An unprecedented amount of water conservation and a very wet winter have officially ended California's historic drought, the governor announced Friday.
Gov. Jerry Brown will, however, keep rules on water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices -- like watering when there's rainy weather. "This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner," he said in a statement. "Conservation must remain a way of life."
A few counties are still officially under a drought emergency, including Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne. In those areas, Gov. Brown said emergency drinking water projects will continue to help with diminished ground water supplies.
California's drought spanned water years 2012 through 2016. In that time, the state saw its driest precipitation on record and the smallest snowpack in the Sierra-Cascades on record. We also saw the first, second and third warmest years in statewide average temperature.
A long-term plan to brace California for future droughts was also announced Friday, by the Department of Water Resources.
"Technically, the drought is over, but this framework extends and expands our dry-year habits," DWR Director Bill Croyle said. "Careful, sparing use of water from backyards to businesses and farm fields will help us endure the next inevitable drought."
DWR officials say part of their plan requires California's 410 urban water suppliers to meet new use targets, which would be set by 2021 with a full compliance deadline of 2025.
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