Citing "unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow," Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that he had officially ended the drought state of emergency in most of California.
The executive order lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where officials say emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies.
Water-reporting requirements remained in place, according to the statement, as did prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during rainfall.
"This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner," the governor said in a statement. "Conservation must remain a way of life."
According to the governor's office, damage from the drought in California will linger for years to come.
Severely dry conditions that date back to 2012 reduced farm production in some regions, harmed wildlife and killed an estimated 100 million trees.
Gov. Brown credits California's strong legislative response to the conditions and "tremendous levels of water conservation" with mitigating the drought's impact.
According to the governor's office, California residents reduced urban water use across the state during the drought by nearly 25 percent.
Gov. Brown lifts drought state of emergency in most of California
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