Gov. Brown Lifts Emergency Drought Order

SACRAMENTO, CA  —  After an unusually wet winter, Governor Jerry Brown today lifted the emergency drought order for most of California – exempting Tulare, Fresno, Kings and Tuolumne counties.

Brown declared the drought state of emergency action in January 2014.

While surface storage and snowpack are at near-record highs, California’s groundwater remains severely depleted, leaving behind a hole so big that some experts say we’ll never recover. Our groundwater supplies remain 10 million-acre feet below their pre-drought levels, due to the insatiable straw of an agricultural industry that, as hydrologist Jay Famiglietti explains, “will never be satisfied by the annual winter storms.”

Following is a statement from Kate Poole, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water and wildlife project:
“Year after year, California continues to use more water than is made available by nature. Water may appear to be in abundance right now. But even after this unusually wet season, there won’t be enough water to satisfy all the demands of agriculture, business and cities, without draining our rivers and groundwater basins below sustainable levels. So we still need to use every drop wisely. Being better stewards of our natural supplies is critical to securing a sustainable water future for California’s people, economy, and environment.”


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on twitter @NRDC.