Gov. Brown declares California drought officially over

California's drought is over, Gov. State water authorities likely hope that the habits formed during the drought will be retained - though some local agricultural water authorities are now pumping water to farmers as fast as they can to keep dams from overflowing.

Although the severely dry conditions that afflicted much of the state starting in the winter of 2011-12 are gone, damage from the drought will linger for years in many areas.

California is lifting its drought emergency for most of the state after a winter of record rain and snowfall that followed a five-year dry spell. Many Californians rose to the challenge with a almost 25 percent average reduction in urban water use statewide.

But monster storms this winter erased almost all signs of drought, blanketing the Sierra Nevada with deep snow, California's key water source, and boosting reservoirs.

Water conservation will become a way of life in the nation's most populous state, said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, who led conservation planning.

Earlier this week, the Sacramento Bee reported that Californians are still conserving water, in spite of the heavy precipitation.

The state will continue its work to coordinate a statewide response on the unprecedented bark beetle outbreak in drought-stressed forests that has killed millions of trees across California.

'There's a greater appreciation of just how precious water is, ' she said.

Water-reporting requirements remained in place, according to the statement, as did prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during rainfall. "This plan allows us to build on that success and prepare for the longer and more frequent droughts we know are coming under climate change, in a way that is equitable and cost-effective".

New rules are expected to permanently ban wasteful practices, such as hosing off sidewalks and watering landscapes in the days after it rains. 'We will run out of money before we run out of people that need help'.

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