Gov. Jerry Brown Lifts Drought Emergency For Most Of California

Riding the coattails of an unseasonably wet season, some valleys have become riots of color, deserts have been blanketed with blooms so suffusive they earn the word "super" - and the state's officials have taken notice.

"Californians stepped up big time during the drought", said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

Brown also said state regulators will be developing a permanent conservation framework that will introduce long-term water usage and conservation goals for suppliers.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order Friday lifting California's drought emergency in all but four counties.

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.

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.

Brown lifted the drought emergency in all California counties except Tuolumne, Fresno, Kings and Tulare, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies.

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It wasn't that long ago that many wondered whether California's drought would ever end.

No part of the state was experiencing the two worst categories of drought, and only about 1 percent, in Imperial County along the Mexico border, was in "severe drought".

California's climate is the most variable in the nation and naturally swings between flood and drought.

Californians also responded to the drought with tremendous levels of water conservation, including a almost 25 percent average reduction in urban water use across the state.

"Water may appear to be in abundance right now", said Kate Poole, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bans on wasteful practices, such as hosing sidewalks and watering lawns after rain. But increased precipitation this year and substantial snow pack helped bring California back from the drought. The 40-foot-wide tunnels have been touted to ensure more reliable water deliveries to city and farm water agencies in Central and Southern California.

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