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Drought returns to California ... back to surcharges and cutbacks?

"It's not looking real promising. 70s this week? I hope we all start to realize, we do need to start cutting back," said resident Nathan Urness.

Posted: Feb. 2, 2018 5:51 PM
Updated: Feb. 2, 2018 5:51 PM

"We do like to have a green lawn, we have to shower," said Butte County resident Nathan Urness.

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Last season's rainy winter ended the worst drought in California history.

And last April, the governor finally said we no longer had to conserve water.

"I can't help but notice, I'm seeing people turn their sprinklers on, that's fine - no need to kill of your landscaping, but be cognizant," said Cal Water Chico manager Pete Bonacich.

Ten months later, and just a few inches of rain this year in Butte County.

44% of the state is back to a moderate drought, with Sierra Nevada snowpack at 30% of what we'd expect for this time of year.

"It's not looking real promising. 70s this week? I hope we all start to realize, we do need to start cutting back," said Urness.

"We've got warm weather ahead, almost record setting - it sounds like a drought, feels like a drought," said Bonacich.

But as for requiring us to conserve water? That's up to the governor. And it hasn't happened yet.

"We have been asking our customers for a 10% voluntary reduction ... Our numbers are good, even though we're no in drought mode," said Bonacich.

In fact, most chico water users are still cutting back to 25% of the amount allowed before the drought began.

Some good news: the DWR says state reservoirs are still fuller than usual thanks to last year's rain.

Since residential customers in the Chico district get their water from the ground, Lake Oroville's low level won't impact supplies.

Plus, there could be a lot more rain on the horizon.

"There's time to turn it around, we've had Marches and Aprils that have been really wet, so we'll see!' said Bonacich.

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