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Dry fields, lost lawns: A look back at California's drought


The Democratic governor declared a drought emergency January 2014, and ordered the state's first-ever mandatory water restrictions in April 2015 as the drought intensified.

"This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner", the governor said. According to the governor's office, California residents reduced urban water use across the state during the drought by almost 25 percent. That impressive conservation effort, coupled with a recent stretch of heavy precipitation, led to Brown's decision to lift the emergency.

Asking water districts to report data electronically in the same format is a critically important change that can only further our understanding of how agriculture uses water.

"We stand ready to assist with implementing an approach that is workable for water agencies and their customers, and look forward to ensuring that conservation and water-use efficiency move forward as essential elements of the California Water Action Plan".

California finally received a significant amount of rainfall this winter after five years of drought.


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. The governor's executive orders mandating continued, long-term water savings were appropriate, "but this power should not be abused", state Sen.

California officials have credited residents for doing their part to conserve water by taking shorter showers and ripping out grass lawns to install landscaping that requires minimal irrigation, among other measures.

Severely dry conditions across much of the state began in the winter of 2011-2012, and their damage will "linger for years in many areas", reads the governor's statement on the matter. It also killed millions of trees and diminished groundwater levels.

This winter was among the wettest on record, swelling rivers to risky levels and sending water cascading over aging levies. The Legislature must prioritize infrastructure improvements, such as the $52 billion transportation plan that was approved last week, and finally get going on water projects to boost supplies before the next inevitable drought.

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