With the downpouring of rain and snow slamming California this winter, many residents have been asking about the status of the drought. So far in 2017, California has received more rain than Washington State. In light of flood warnings and emergency water evacuations, already high water prices remaining high seems ludicrous. Well it is now officially ludicrous as the drought in California is all but over.

The reservoir that just wouldn't fill

A major reason for the eternal "drought status" has been the low levels of Lake Cachuma. Santa Barbara County depends on this reservoir for its water supply.

The county includes an area of 3,798 square miles and contains the cities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Goleta. Despite the tremendous rainfall throughout the state and the historic snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Cachuma stayed frozen at a mere 7% capacity. February 17 changed all that.

In one of the largest storms in memory in San Ynez Valley on February 17, Cachuma Lake rose a whopping 31 feet in a few short days. Many rental boats kept in Lake Cachuma were filled so greatly by the rainfall that they were in danger of sinking; many crews came to bail water out from these areas. Across the region, the storm dropped 7 inches of rain, which helped moisten the dusty hilltops of the region.

After this one storm, Lake Cachuma reached 45% of its capacity. This caused a celebration of residents and tourists alike in the areas as groups of people flocked to the lake to see the improvement for themselves. For the first time in two years, private boats launched out on the water.

Federal authorities reveal hopeful findings

Last week, California reached a major victory when federal authorities declared that less than 20% of the state faces any drought conditions and no area is in the extreme or exceptional-drought category. Lake Cachuma was by far the most depleted reservoir in the state of California. With its sudden rise out of its "extreme drought," the state is a giant leap in the right direction for overcoming a five year battle.