As the state endures yet another round of powerful storms and key reservoirs are already filled to the brim, one can only wonder when will the Governor declare an end to the Drought Emergency in California?

Earlier this month, Directors of the Municipal Water District of Orange County declared an end to the “emergency” drought in Orange County and urged the State Water Resources Control Board to do the same.

Days later, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) decided to hold on to the powers granted to them under the “emergency” declaration, extending the declared emergency another 270 days, even as Orange County and the state are on pace for the wettest year on records.

“It defies logic to tell the public – to force water agencies to tell the public – that we are still in a drought emergency,” said MWDOC Board President, Wayne Osborne. “We remain in a drought, but it is no longer an emergency. Not only is it unnecessary, continuing the ’emergency’ will destroy local leaders’ credibility with their stakeholders.”

The credibility of water officials clinging to the “emergency” declaration took a larger hit, when nearly 200,000 residents in the communities around the Oroville Dam were evacuated when the primary spillway and emergency spillways were damaged during extreme outflows.

With another week of record precipitation for much of the state, it remains to be seen whether the Governor will answer calls to lift the emergency drought orders in the face of declared emergency flood conditions and a very different picture of drought from the onset.

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