California governor lifts drought emergency
Recycled water is used to irrigate the grass at Demuth Park in Palm Springs.
At the groundwater replenishment facility near Palm Springs, large graders remove silt from the percolation ponds so that water can seep into the ground more efficiently.
Marcus said Californians have "hit it out of the park" with conservation during the drought, and noted that water savings have continued even during the wet winter.
"I don’t think people are going to unlearn what they learned about their lawns," Marcus told reporters. "Let’s see how it goes, but I think folks have shown so far this year that they’ll keep up a reasonable level."
Seeking to pivot to larger water challenges that transcend a single drought, state officials also released a plan focusing on long-term water conservation. The plan, titled Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life, was prepared in response to an executive order signed by Brown last year.
The plan calls for setting new community-specific conservation targets. It also includes a variety of goals such as improving water data, tracking water use by businesses, encouraging agencies to fix water leaks and requiring agricultural districts to submit more information about water use.
Water and climate scientists have voiced support for the plan. Environmental groups have also called for a continued focus on saving water and using water more efficiently.
Sara Aminzadeh, executive director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, said she’s happy to see the governor and state agencies follow through on commitments to make continued conservation a priority.
“The drastic change we saw from deep drought to flooding underscores the importance of drought preparedness as a climate change resiliency strategy,” Aminzadeh said. “Moving forward, it will be important to ensure that conservation and efficiency measures are applied to all sources of water, including recycled water.”
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