Drought is a function of impacts, which may be quite local. There’s no rulebook for when a drought is declared or rescinded. Local governments can declare drought emergencies, and California governors through the years have declared drought emergencies at both a statewide and a regional (such as Central Valley) level.For my full story on the subject, check CapitalPress.com soon.
Our assessment of the state’s drought conditions is comprehensive, dynamic and considers a number of factors, including reservoirs, snowpack, and groundwater levels at the end of the rainy season.
We know from experience that storms can cease. You’ll recall, for example, after the previous drought declaration was ended in March 2011 – and the arrival of some storms in November and December 2012 – severe drought returned, leading to the driest four year period (and some of the warmest years) in California’s history.
In the last 10 water years, eight have been dry, one wet, one average. Although this year may end up being wet – it looks that way now -- we can't say whether it's just going to be one wet year in another string of dry ones.
Many Californians continue to experience the effects of drought and a number of Central Valley communities still depend on water tanks and bottled water. Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County is at just 12 percent capacity, and groundwater – source of at least a third of the supplies Californians use – will take much more than a few storms to be replenished in many areas.