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Water regulations ease, but drought still dominates in California

The past few day have been big for water news.

First, Governor Jerry Brown announced plans to ease up on some water restrictions, then Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District said it’ll end limits on the amount of water local suppliers can purchase.

All of this comes as the U.S Drought Monitor reported that Del Norte County and parts of Humboldt and Siskiyou counties are actually drought free.

The US Drought Monitor for California as of May 10th.
The US Drought Monitor for California as of May 10th.

This news is welcome relief after four years of brutal drought.

Thanks to El Niño, parts of Northern California saw above average rains and some reservoirs refilled to historical average. Even the snowpack was close to average.

Even though Southern California barely saw any rain this winter, Mark Jackson with the National Weather Service says supplies up North will benefit the region through the spring and summer.

"As a whole in the state there was some relief," Jackson explained. "But... now we are entering into the dry part of our season."

He added that 96 percent of the state is still drier than average, including all of Southern California. That could get worse if a La Niña pattern sets in, which seems increasingly likely.

That's because a La Niña typically brings the opposite conditions from an El Niño, meaning dry winters for the California.

If that happens, drought could return to all of the state.

Jackson said that's why people should continue saving water as they did before.

"You don't want to ease up just because we got some rain," he said.