Some state water agencies call for relaxed drought restrictions

Is California's historic drought over? Some water agencies in the state are calling for regulators to relax mandatory, emergency water use restrictions, given this winter's rainfall and snowpack.

One look at the Los Gatos Creek, you wouldn't think we were in a drought.  Reservoirs in Santa Clara County are also in good shape at almost 90 percent capacity.

"We did have rain so that makes me think we should allow us to water more often and flush our toilets," said Denise Nobler of San Jose.

Nobler said she hasn't watered much this winter. Her vegetable garden in her backyard has taken a beating.

She's all for letting up on emergency drought orders, agreeing with the Association of California Water

Agencies who called to end the State Water Board's mandatory restrictions.

"We believe the time has come now for the emergency provisions to be rescinded," said Dave Bolland of the

Association of California Water Agencies. "We think it's really important to have credibility with this process."

Some water agencies are concerned water customers won't take the drought seriously if emergency conditions re-emerge. However, the Santa Clara Valley Water District recommends water conservation be based on local conditions.

"Our groundwater storage has been reduced over four years so one good, normal rainfall year doesn't erase those four years of drought given our groundwater storage," said Vanessa De La Piedra of the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Groundwater storage accounts for nearly half of Santa Clara County's water supply and is still in a severe stage. Soon, the county's percolation ponds will be filled to help replenish the groundwater basin. Morris Chassen limits his showers, fills his yard with rocks and waters his plants with secondary water. He said, he'll continue to conserve even if orders are lifted.

"History repeats itself and the drought we have now or had will be repeating itself in a couple years so it's good to get use to conserving less and conserving what we have," said Morris Chassen of San Jose.

In Santa Clara County, water officials are calling for residents to conserve 30 percent through June. On Tuesday, they will recommend easing that, but the request to conserve won't go away.

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