By Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 04/07/17 – 6:34 PM PDT |

After a record-breaking winter rainy season, plus an impressive effort by Southland residents at conserving water in the first two months of 2017, California’s devastating five-year drought is finally over.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared an end to the state’s drought emergency, signaling the drawback of mandatory conservation targets, while still keeping in place numerous prohibitions on wasting water.

“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said in a statement. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

The lengthy drought was shattered by last winter’s frequent rain and snowstorms, which created one of the highest precipitation totals in the past 150 years, according to state water, energy and environmental agencies.

With so much rainfall, and the Sierra snowpack at 164 percent of the season average, the state’s reservoirs are filled to capacity and beyond, capable of supplying most of the state with enough water. The governor lifted four drought-related executive orders from 2014 and 2015 and rescinded two emergency proclamations from 2014 in all 58 counties that required 25 percent savings, with the exception of Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Tuolumne.

The new order means different things to 36 million Californians, many who have been saving on average more than 20 percent since 2013, and the 410 urban water agencies under restrictive conservation targets and, as of last year, stress-test reporting.

Residents may see cities drop watering restrictions, which were set as low as one day per week and as frequent as three days per week. Now, those restrictions are no longer required by the State Water Resources Control Board, which has carried out the governor’s orders for the last three years, said Dan Arrighi, manager of water resources at the San Gabriel Valley Water Co., a large, for-profit water retailer.

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