The same location on the Oroville Reservoir, California’s second largest, in January 2016 (left) and January 2017 (right). Courtesy San Diego County Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority approved a resolution Thursday declaring an end to the drought in San Diego County.

The vote came after an unexpectedly rainy January that has already boosted the Sierra Nevada snowpack to springtime levels.

The resolution also called upon Gov. Jerry Brown to declare an end the statewide drought emergency and cancel conservation regulations affecting San Diego.

The approval was 25-0 with 8 abstentions. Several board members wanted more time to study the resolution, but authority staff said time was of the essence because the state Water Resources Control Board meets early in February.

“Many areas of the state including San Diego County are not experiencing drought conditions,” Water Resources Manger Dana Friehauf told the authority’s board board of directors.

Friehauf told the board that allowing the regulations to expire is necessary to maintain credibility with water users, who continue to conserve, with per-capita use down 40 percent over the past 25 years.

She added that San Diego’s business environment will suffer if the region is “always be in a drought emergency.”

The San Diego region currently has enough water on hand to go three years without any more rain, according to the authority.

“I think we have a responsibility to end this emergency drought — this is no emergency,” said Christy Guerin of the Olivenhain Water District.

“There are parts of our state that are in a serious drought, especially the Central Valley and the Central Coast…but you don’t call an emergency for the entire state,” said Vice Chairman Jim Madaffer, who represents the City of San Diego.

He said the long-term investments in raising the San Vicente Dam, building the Carlsbad desalination plant and promoting conservation have paid off for San Diego.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.