Splish, Splash, The Drought's Over

Rain-soaked California residents may wonder why it took so long, but the state will soon announce that the 6 1/2-year drought has ended. After three straight months of above-normal rain, the state's 155 largest reservoirs are nearly full. More important, the water content of the Sierra snowpack--which supplies much of the state's water when it melts in spring and summer--stands at 170% of normal. That's likely to result in normal runoff for the first time since 1986.

But farmers face continuing shortages. New federal regulations will force more diversions to save endangered fish and wildlife. And a state water board is expected soon to set more limits on pumping water from the Sacramento Delta, the state's main spigot.