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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Gov. Brown to declare end of drought

The governor is expected to make the announcement after water supplies have nearly doubled the average. Lowell Stott, USC Earth Sciences Professor, thinks California could still be in danger of future low water supplies. (Video by: Emily Heckelman)

Gov. Jerry Brown will likely declare the nearly three-year drought in California over on Wednesday. The drought was declared nearly three years ago, in June 2008, by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after a third straight dry year.

Brown’s announcement will take place after the California Department of Water Resources conduct its final winter survey, which includes surveying the water content of snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The survey at the end of March usually marks the conclusion of winter, and provides a good overview of water availability. Water supplies appear to be nearly double what they are usually at this time of the year.

Bob Muir, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said the state’s expected dismissal of the drought declaration is good news for California. The drought threatened the state’s $35 billion-a-year agriculture industry after rain and snow filled reservoirs.

Lowell Stott, an Earth Sciences Professor at USC, believes California isn’t out of the clear yet. He said, “We still have a major concern in the Western United States. As a direct consequence of the growing population, the dependence on a very limited water supply and the fact that we anticipate that the water supply will decrease in the future.”

California’s previous drought lasted from 1987 until 1994. The Farm Bureau said it cost the state nearly $1 billion in farming losses and increased electricity usage.

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