Water Emergency Remains in Four California Counties

California Governor Brown declared the drought state of emergency over in all but 4 counties (Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne) as of April 7 , but also said the State must continue to make conservation “a way of life.”

The Governor’s Office cited “unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow” as the reasons for the vast reduction in the dry conditions that have affected much of the state over the past five years.

On the same day the state of emergency was rescinded, California agencies issued a report titled, “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life, Implementing Executive Order B‐37‐16.“ The proposed plan, to be executed by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), and California Energy Commission (CEC), has 4 objectives:

• Use Water More Wisely

• Eliminate Water Waste

• Strengthen Local Drought Resilience

• Improve Agricultural Water Use Efficiency and Drought Planning

The plan proposes a “suite of actions that can be implemented using existing authorities, ranging from rulemaking proceedings to expanded technical assistance, to evaluation and certification of new technologies to implement the four objectives.”

The complete fact sheet about the plan can be found here.

While the improvement of conditions in California is very welcome news, damage from the drought will remain for years, if not decades. According to the Governor’s Office, “the drought reduced farm production in some regions, killed an estimated 100 million trees, harmed wildlife and disrupted drinking water supplies for many rural communities. The consequences of millions of dead trees and the diminished groundwater basins will continue to challenge areas of the state for years.”