Water crisis sign.
April 7, 2017

California Declares End to Drought Emergency Except in Central Valley

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

California Governor Jerry Brown formally ended California’s drought emergency in much of the state today. The emergency remains in place for the Central Valley counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne.

Brown also kept in place water reporting requirements and the prohibition of wasteful practices such as watering during or after rainfall. “This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” he says. “Conservation must be a way of life.”

The drought spanned five years, 2012 through 2016, and included the driest statewide precipitation in four of those years—2012 through 2015. The smallest snowpack on record in the Sierra-Cascades was recorded in 2015, at just 5% of average.

It lowered water tables, disrupted farm production, killed an estimated 100 million trees and disrupted drinking water infrastructure in many rural communities. But through conservation efforts, urban water use declined nearly 25% across the state.