After 7 Years, California Is Officially Drought-Free

Now Californians need to keep conserving water.

California is staying drought-free after more than seven years of severe drought conditions across the state.

The declaration, made by government officials and scientists in the state last month, comes after a spate of heavy rains and snow. Storms across the state filled up reservoirs and improved soil conditions, according to USA Today.

The Los Angeles Times also reported that January storms added 580 million gallons of water to reservoirs across the state.

"The reservoirs are full, lakes are full, the streams are flowing, there's tons of snow," Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Los Angeles Times. "All the drought is officially gone."

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But it was also efforts made by the state that helped them end the drought. For years, California has been operating with "unprecedented water conservation," according to a state website. Californians had changed their day-to-day lives in simple but impactful ways to help conserve water: buckets in the shower to catch extra water, not flushing the toilet after you urinated and reducing the number of times a month you watered your lawn had all become the norm. 

Now that the U.S. Drought monitor says less than seven percent of the state has abnormally dry conditions, government officials are warning Californians to continue water conservation if they want to avoid falling back into drought after a wet winter. After Gov. Jerry Brown declared the drought over in 2017, many Californians returned to similar levels of water use as before, according to KQED. Then the state fell back into extremely dry conditions.

"All of these storms came along and alleviated the drought [in 2017]," Blunden told The Los Angeles Times. "Everybody thought we were out of the woods, but then it came right back... I think drought conditions can sneak up on you very quickly. It is good to be cautious and always think about conserving water."

Cover image via  MODpix / Shutterstock.

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