Calif. drought crisis deepens

SAN DIEGO - Drought conditions are continuing to worsen across the state as mandatory water restrictions took effect this week.

According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of Tuesday 58.41 percent of the state is currently in an exceptional drought status known as D-4, the highest possible.That is up about 22 percent from just one week ago. 81.89 percent of the state is in at least a D-3 status known as extreme drought, which includes most of San Diego County.

This time last year, none of California had reached D-3.

Storage for California’s 154 intrastate reservoirs were at 60 percent of the historic average in June. The all-time low occurred in June 1977 when the state’s reservoirs fell to 44 percent.

The only drier July through June periods were 1923 to 1924, and 1976 to 1977. It is the first time the state has seen three consecutive top-20 dry years. Last year ranked as the 18th driest, while the previous year ranked 20th.

 New regulations that include fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water took effect across the state Tuesday.
 
The State Water Resources Control Board approved the rules earlier this month, making it illegal for people to hose down driveways and sidewalks, waste water on their lawns or wash vehicles using a hose without a shut-off nozzle.
 
The Sacramento Bee reports the regulations took effect after a state legal review.
 
The stronger enforcement was triggered in part by a state report that found water consumption has actually risen amid the worst drought in nearly four decades, despite Gov. Jerry Brown's push to cut water use by 20 percent.
 
The rules apply to residents and business owners for nine months, but they could be renewed.

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