April showers and drought’s final hours

Snow covering the Sierra Nevada is seen in the background of the PG&E hydroelectric dam at Spaulding Lake in Nevada County. (RICH PEDRONCELLI / Associated Press)


It’s official: After one of the wettest winters on record, California’s historic drought is, well, history. With a new annual precipitation record in Santa Rosa of 55.48 inches and counting, and the northern Sierra poised to set its own new record this week, it was hardly a surprise when the announcement came Friday that Gov. Jerry Brown had lifted the emergency drought order that resulted in mandatory water conservation rules for the past three years.

So don’t feel guilty about watering the lawn or taking an extra couple minutes in the shower, but don’t be surprised if the wet weather doesn’t stick around. California has experienced drought conditions in eight of the past 10 years, and one wet year, even a prodigious rainfall year like this one, won’t be enough to restore badly depleted groundwater supplies. “This drought is over,” Brown said in a written statement, “but the next drought could be right around the corner. Conservation must remain a way of life.”