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Should Gov. Brown Declare California's Drought Over?

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Water rushes through the open Nimbus Dam gates on the American River during a rainstorm on January 10, 2017.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A group of Republican state lawmakers are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to formally declare an end to California’s drought – and the water conservation regulations that came with it.

The drought is now in its sixth year, but the governor didn’t officially issue his emergency drought proclamation until three years ago. That prompted state regulators to issue California’s largest water cutbacks ever. Those mandates have since been eased, and now several northern California GOP lawmakers, local officials and water districts are asking the governor to eliminate them altogether.

The letter to Brown notes that this winter has brought so much rain that most reservoirs are at or nearing capacity, and adds, quote: “We cannot credibly ask our citizens to continue to sacrifice their way of life when water is being purposefully released into the ocean.”

The Brown administration says it’s constantly assessing drought conditions but warns this might just be a single wet winter in a string of dry ones.

The state water board will meet next week to consider whether to let most of the remaining emergency regulations expire.