"The City considers 12-percent in February to be a great number," explains Hass. "It's important to remember that February even in a non-drought year is a low water-use month. A lot of our customers turn off irrigation or use it less simply because it's cooler and wetter."
Citrus Heights' water use fell by about 20-percent in February compared to the same month the past two years. Dave Kane is with the Citrus Heights Water District.
"We sent out a newsletter to all of our customers outlining what we were asking them to do and we stressed to our customers that the best way to meet the 20-percent would be to discontinue outdoor watering at this time of year," says Kane. Citrus Heights has no plans to increase conservation measures.
Jessica Hess with the Department of Utilities says a training program will also return for people interested in becoming "Water Ambassadors."
"They would be able to go to community events and speak to people as a neighbor and a friend as opposed to a city official who's talking to you about these particular rules and regulations that you might need to follow along with," says Hess.
This week, the Sacramento City Council approved a cash-for-grass program where people would be paid to swap out their front lawns for drought tolerant landscaping.
Other cities considering more conservation efforts include Roseville. The city manager there could declare within the next two weeks whether Roseville will enter a mandatory drought stage.
Last year, California saw everything from intense drought to torrential rain. Researchers and water agencies say that the future of the state’s drought depends on adapting to these shifts.
As the drought dries up California’s wetlands, traveling birds such as ducks, geese and eagles are struggling to survive and breed. “This drought is bad. The odds are against us,” a state expert said.
Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape.
About 4,300 users were issued notices to halt diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Experts say the current drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, meaning water is evaporating faster.
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