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Copious Amounts Of Rain Not Enough To End California's Drought

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Some parts of California are entering their sixth year of drought – the worst in the state's history.

The record rainfall and heavy snow has been good, but not good enough. California is still operating under emergency drought conditions. That means residents are still expected to conserve.

"We took out the lawn and put in mulch. The other thing we did is put a bucket in the shower, capture the water and use it to flush the toilet," shared South Land Park resident Laura Lunetta.

Some have suggested that the state regulators haven't done enough to tackle the drought issue.

"There seems to be other options with technology and all of seems like we would have made a bigger effort to get water to other parts of the (state)," said Lee Jackson, who lives in Sacramento.

That may be changing. To help guide the state, Gov. Jerry Brown has tasked the State Water Resources Control Board to come up a formal plan to tackle the state's uncertain water supply.

Part of the goal is to "make conservation a normal kind of thing, not a drought response," said Frances Spivy-Weber. She's the vice chair of the board and says the new plan won't bring about drastic changes, but will focus on a long-ignored aspect of the state's water problem: leaking pipes.

"Those pipes are constantly under pressure and they break," she said.

Spivy-Weber is referring to the system of pipes that supply water from reservoirs and lakes to homes and businesses.

So why have the leaks gone unchecked?

Spivy-Weber says that in the past, California had lots of water, so 10 percent leakage was acceptable. But now, the drought is forcing law makers to conserve at every level. Leaks will be limited to two percent and made a priority.

"In fact, I think we will have to start making these changes, but we are just starting to figure this out," said Spivy-Weber. "I think this will call on every agency to be more diligent about maintenance than in the past."

The plan deals with three other main points: indoor use, outdoor landscaping, and commercial use.

A rough draft is supposed to be available for public review by January 10. The final draft will be ready a few weeks later.

As for households, the board seems pleased with most Californians. Spivy-Weber says Sacramento-area residents have done a lot to conserve water.

"They are using a lot less water right now. It really is quite impressive," she said.

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