Governor says drought over; SD restrictions to last 1 more month - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Governor says drought over; San Diego restrictions to last another month

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Gov. Jerry Brown officially ended California's latest drought Wednesday, but it could be another month before water use restrictions are lifted in the city of San Diego.

With nearly 50 feet of snow in some spots in the Sierra Nevada, the governor said the snowpack was 165 percent of normal, and reservoirs that feed the state water project are near capacity.

"The supplies the state of California manages is in good shape this year," said Ken Weinberg, the director of water resources for the San Diego County Water Authority. "Things are so good there could be a carry-over into next year, so that's why I think they made the decision."

Water that ends up in San Diego faucets and shower heads is distributed by the Metropolitan Water District, based in Los Angeles, and then delivered to local water agencies by Weinberg's agency.

He said the MWD board of directors will vote on allocations at its next meeting on April 12. The county water authority board will make similar decisions a couple of weeks later.

Only then will local water agencies, like the city of San Diego, know how much water will be available next year, said Alex Roth of the mayor's office.

"We're really optimistic the way the numbers look," Roth said. "I think we are closely examining the idea of lifting water restrictions."

Since June 1, 2009, residents of the city of San Diego have been able to water their landscapes only three days per week, not wash down their driveways and restaurants only served water upon customer request.

In the year after the restrictions went into effect, San Diegans reduced water usage by 11 percent, more than the city's target of 8 percent.

Weinberg said though this has been a good year for water, the long-term reliability of supply issues remain, so conservation remains a good practice.

"Long-term, the same issues are still there," Weinberg said.

The governor echoed the theme in his statement that announced the end of the drought.

"While this season's storms have lifted us out of the drought, it's critical that Californians continue to watch their water use," Brown said. "Drought or no drought, demand for water in California always outstrips supply. Continued conservation is key."

A proclamation issued by Brown officially rescinded an executive order put out by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008, and ends states of emergency adopted in 2008 and 2009.

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