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The Latest: California winter now third driest on record

February 20, 2018

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California’s response to drought conditions (all times local):

1:35 p.m.

State officials say California’s winter so far is the third driest on record as much of the state heads back toward drought.

Last year’s unprecedented rainfall has left most reservoirs slightly above their average capacity for this time of year. But water officials said Tuesday that the lack of snow this winter will prevent the reservoirs from replenishing as the season continues.

John Leahigh of the Department of Water Resources says about 80 percent of California is abnormally dry or in drought.

The state Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday delayed a decision on whether to adopt a range of permanent restrictions on wasting water.

A vote on the restrictions is now expected by April 17.

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12 a.m.:

State officials are considering whether to adopt a range of permanent restrictions against wasting water as signs point again to fears that California may be creeping into drought.

The restrictions include prohibitions on watering lawns so much that the water flows into the street, using a hose to wash down sidewalks, or using a hose without an automatic shut-off nozzle to wash cars.

Many of those rules were temporarily imposed during California’s historic drought from 2013 to 2017. The state Water Resources Control Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday on making such restrictions permanent.

U.S. drought monitors last week declared nearly half the state, all of it in Southern California, is now back in drought.

Most of the restrictions would take effect in April.

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