California's Statewide Drought Restrictions Continue Despite Heavy Rainfall | NBC Bay Area

California's Statewide Drought Restrictions Continue Despite Heavy Rainfall

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    Water districts have varying opinions on whether or not California's statewide water conservation measures should be extended. Vikki Vargas reports for the NBC4 News at 6 on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

    (Published Monday, Feb. 6, 2017)

    At least one water district in Orange County is on record Monday saying the state's drought emergency declaration should end.

    Water district officials point to the rain, snowpack at 170 percent and basins overflowing as evidence. But, other water districts say ending the conservation measures that are in place wouldn't be prudent.

    Officials with the Municipal Water District of Orange County told NBC4 it's an issue of credibility. On Monday they voted unanimously to declare the drought emergency is over and are asking California to do the same.

    "We always need to continue to be water use efficient but when every reservoir in the state is spilling water, when more water is going out to the ocean then we could be using in SoCal in a year, there's some problems there," said Brett Barbre of the Municipal Water District of Orange County.

    The district supplies water to 2.2 million people in Orange County. Authorities say because of recent rainfall there should no longer be extreme restrictions.

    Gov. Jerry Brown declared the drought emergency in 2014, asking Californians to use 25 percent less water.

    The Barela's, who live in Laguna Niguel, remain water conservation should remain as is.

    "I think there has been permanent change, but I would like to keep in place anything we to make sure we have permanent change," George Barela said.

    Officials at the Moulton Niguel Water District would prefer the state wait until the end of the rainy season before making any changes … which includes monthly reports on conservation, enforcing penalties for water runoff and ensuring districts have a three year supply of water on hand.

    Laguna Niguel resident Angela Rusu made a choice to replace her lawn with California native plants. She believes others should do the same.

    "The grass is nice and some people they like the grass, but if you're going to overdo it I think it's too much for everybody. So a little bit of saving will be good for everybody," she said.

    The state Water Resources Board is slated to vote Wednesday in Sacramento. Officials say they could extend Brown's emergency declaration for up to nine months.