Gov. Jerry Brown recently lifted his emergency drought declaration for all of California except four counties: Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne.
These counties tend to rely on groundwater, which takes longer to recharge after a drought than surface water. But that's not really what keeping the emergency declaration in place is about.
"It's about the number of communities that have been grappling with severe water shortages,” says Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager for the State Water Resources Control Board.
He says communities and water systems in these four counties were among the hardest-hit by the drought, and when wells went dry and people were left without water, the emergency declaration made possible state funding for relief efforts.
Tulare County’s deputy administrator, Eric Coyne, says that funding has been crucial.