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Getting Answers: Is Northern California Next for Water Conservation Rules?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An unprecedented step was made in Southern California on Tuesday, as a water shortage emergency led to major restrictions being put in place that include outdoor water usage being limited to one day a week.

The new rules impact 6 million people in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties.

Are the restrictions a sign of what's to come for Northern California?

Experts say it's not a "one-size-fits-all" approach when it comes to water restrictions statewide. Local districts make the call on what works for the area.

Some crucial wet weather this April has local lake levels on the rise, though, with Folsom Lake sitting at around 75% capacity.

In the Sacramento region, we're at 85% of the average precipitation for the water year, which is higher than the statewide average of 74%.

Southern California hasn't done as well.

"The reason for the restrictions in Southern California is a unique local set of circumstances. Drought needs to be considered at a local level," said Jeanine Jones, the Department of Water Resources Interstate Resources Manager and Drought Manager.

Jones added conservation is important, regardless of the hydrology status. It's the third-straight dry year in Northern California.

"Our hydrology is better and we don't have the particular infrastructure limitation that is causing the problem in Southern California," said Jones.

The drought manager at the California Department of Water Resources said because the transition is underway from the wet season to the drier seasons, concern for wildfires has gone up and it's important that those who live in potential fire zones are prepared for that change.

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