California officials ease water restrictions

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California decided Wednesday to allow hundreds of local water districts to set their own conservation goals after a wet winter eased the five-year drought in some parts of the state. (KFSN)

State regulators are meeting to discuss proposed changes to emergency drought regulations put in place by Governor Jerry Brown last year.

Staff with the state Water Resources Control Board say urban water supply conditions are much better due to wet winter conditions, but they also say we're not out of the woods yet.

Miguel Armenta of Hanford is getting down and dirty to take care of some leaks at his Hanford home.

He's trying to get his water bill down, and do his part in a fifth dry year by not wasting any water.

"Summer's around the corner," he said. "I want my yard to look a little better but it's going to be hard, yeah, trying to save water and having your yard green, you know?"

Hanford is currently under a 23 percent reduction order mandated by the state.

But the city's deputy public works director says it's unlikely they'll meet that goal, despite increased education and enforcement.

He says Hanford has had a water conservation program in place since 1987

"The state was essentially trying to with one big broad bush, say everybody shall," deputy director John Doyel said. "Even though some people were already doing it, there was no consideration given for that."

State regulators discussed extending water conservation measures for urban water districts during a meeting Wednesday.

Staff with the state water resources control board recommended that local agencies come up with their own conservation standards based on their available water supply.

That, combined with the sustainable groundwater management act, could mean good news for the city of Hanford, but Doyel says they will continue conserving like they have been.

"We're trying to get the word out, hey don't forget to conserve," he said. "Yeah, we've had a great winter, but that doesn't mean everything's perfect now. People just need to continue to be aware that water is still our greatest resource and if we don't make it sustainable, then it eventually could go away."

Armenta is doing his part to make sure that doesn't happen. Shorter showers in his house also help conserve water.

"You know, we try to just save whatever we can," Armenta said. "We take our cars to the car wash, instead of washing them at the house, or whatever we can."

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societycalifornia waterwaterregulationscaliforniaHanford
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