California may be getting near-record rain and snow, but the state Water Resources Control Board isn’t ready to call an end to the drought.
The board on Wednesday extended its existing water conservation regulations, which prohibit wasteful practices such as watering lawns right after rain, until the next meeting in May.
“We are beyond happy that water conditions continue to improve this year, but the rainy season isn’t over yet and some areas of the state continue to suffer significant drought impacts,” said Chair Felicia Marcus. “So it is most prudent to wait a bit longer until close of the rainy season to take stock of the statewide situation and decide what to do next.”
The decision doesn’t affect San Diego, which has ample local supplies and has already declared the drought over. But many communities in the Central Valley continue to face drought conditions.
Last month, the San Diego County Water Authority declared the drought over in its region, ending all restrictions. There is enough water supply to cover the region’s needs for three years without additional rain.
California’s water use was down nearly 21 percent in December compared to December 2013, according to figures released by the state board. Cumulative statewide savings from June 2015 through December 2016 are enough to supply close to a third of the state’s population for a year.
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