Newsom Rolls Back Drought Restrictions Following Stormy Winter
Following a record-breaking California winter, Governor Newsom has announced he will roll back many drought restrictions.
With much of the state out of the most severe drought conditions, this move by the governor shows comfort with water levels following atmospheric rivers.
What Restrictions are Gone?
Following the three driest years on record for California, 2023 has changed the outlook for the state. Three months of heavy rain and snow have significantly improved drought conditions throughout the state and refilled once-depleted reservoirs.
While still being cautious, Newsom’s executive order will:
- Ends the voluntary 15% water conservation target
- Ends the requirement that local water agencies implement level 2 of their drought contingency plans
- Maintains the ban on wasteful water uses
- Keeps emergency orders on groundwater supply
- Maintains orders on watersheds that have not benefited as much from the rain
- Keeps state of emergency for California’s 58 counties to continue drought response and recovery efforts
State Water Project
Last year, the Department of Water Resources announced that agencies would receive only 5% of requested supplies. However, that percentage has increased every month of the year due to the atmospheric rivers refilling California’s water infrastructure.
As of March 2023, the DWR has announced that it has increased the total allocation of requested resources to 75%, the highest it has been since 2019.
Despite skepticism on whether the state was able to catch rainwater, the storms allowed the state to capture and store nearly 2 million acre-feet of water.
In short, the major increase in allocation is a great sign that the state feels comfortable with its water supplies and that the atmospheric rivers have addressed many drought concerns.
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