Not so fast, drought may cause continuing concerns

EL SOBRANTE, Calif. (KGO) -- All of the rain underscores why a federal agency has declared that the drought is over in 40 percent of the state, including much of Northern California.

Hearing that Northern California has finally broken free of its historic drought is news many have been waiting to hear for years. The U.S. Drought Monitor made the declaration.

U.S. Drought Monitor - Click here for full report

Andrea Pook is with the East Bay Municipal Utility District and is charged with managing water supply for 1.4 million people in the East Bay. "Overall, the amount of water that we've received, the amount of precipitation we've received is 196 percent of average," she said. "And just in January, 470 percent above average so far."

With the snow pack in the Sierra also well above average for this time of year and reservoirs like San Pablo brimming, things look good for the foreseeable future. Some experts have reservations about the long term.

Alex LaGatta is a professor of earth and environmental sciences at St. Mary's College in Moraga. She says all of this is great for surface supplies, but what happens beneath the ground is even more important. "All of this precipitation is going to help replenish the surface water, the stuff at the surface, the reservoirs, the rivers" LaGatta told ABC7 News. "It does very little to replenish groundwater, aquifers. It takes decades to replenish groundwater aquifers."

RELATED: Bay Area out of drought after powerful storms

While things may look great on the surface in Northern California, the drought is still very much in place in Southern California.

PHOTOS: Major January storm sweeps across Bay Area

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The Associated Press has contributed to this report.
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