California’s Water Board Refuses to Lift Emergency Drought Regulations

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Heavy rain storms may have caused frequent mudslides, but it didn’t change the state’s emergency drought positioning. The State Water Resources Control Board voted Feb. 1 to extend the water conservation rules throughout the month of September.

According to the board’s head of climate and conservation committee Max Gomberg, announcing the end of the statewide drought could encourage residents to pick up old habits. 

This year’s excessive wet season resulted in the doubling of major reservoir levels and the overflowing of neighboring creeks, leading local water managers to believe that California is no longer in emergency drought status — protesting that the board develop a longterm strategy for water conservation. 

Governor Jerry Brown, who enacted the statewide drought emergency declaration in 2014, took the first step to creating a more permanent plan — ordering the water board to make certain water conservation rules permanent, which includes prohibiting residents from watering lawns within 48 hours of rainfall, washing vehicles without hose shutoff nozzles and restaurants from serving water unless requested by the customer.