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Orange County Ends Emergency Drought Declaration

SAN CLEMENTE ( – As the rain fell hard Monday, the drought panic officially came to an end in Orange County.

The board of directors for the Municipal Water District of Orange County unanimously voted Monday to end the emergency drought conditions that were declared about three years ago.

"My plants, I don't have to water them by hand anymore," said Susi Myre of San Clemente.

"I think it's amazing," said Kiersten Crivello, also of San Clemente. "It's really felt like the rain has come down over the last few weeks. We needed it."

"I think it's good news," Mario Crivello added. "I think we still need to pay attention to our water usage and not be wasteful. Hopefully this drought was a lesson learned."

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, this time last year, 63 percent of the state was in either in extreme or exceptional drought. As of this week, that number is down to just under 2 percent.

This comes as the State Water Resources Control Board is set to vote Wednesday on whether to keep California in a drought state of emergency.

The MWDOC concedes Orange County remains in a drought, just not an emergency one.

"It defies logic to tell the public – to force water agencies to tell the public – that we are still in a drought emergency," said Wayne Osborne, president of the MWDOC Board of Directors, in a news release. "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."

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