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California Water Officials Tell Communities To Prepare For Potential Water Shortages

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An extra dry summer with potential for water shortages – that's what state and federal officials are telling Californians to prepare for.

Predictions for 2021 are bleak. Lake levels are low and the Sacramento region is not getting the spring showers many hoped for.

"Many places in the state have only had about half of average precipitation," said Jeanine Jones with the California Department of Water Resources.

According to the US drought monitor, most of the Central Valley is experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions.

This week the Department of Water Resources lowered its expected forecast of water deliveries made to cities and farms by half. But any conservation restrictions would be up to local authorities.

The experts hope for help from mountain snow.

"Hopefully some of the runoff will pick up after the snowpack starts melting," Jones said.

Communities both rural and urban can start conserving now.

"People water too much already. So I think just cutting back how much they water, how often they water, is going to help a lot," said Marlene Simon, a UC Davis horticulturist.

Simons said maintaining a backyard paradise in dry conditions takes strategy.

"You want to plant now when it's cool because the roots are getting established and they're not stressed for water at the same time they're getting established," she said.

About 75% of California precipitation typically falls between November and March.

State officials have not yet declared a drought, but warn that could happen if this dry spout continues next year.

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