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Central Coast residents urged to conserve water due to California’s worsening drought

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – Water resource managers on the Central Coast are urging everyone to cut back on water use as California's drought worsens.

Local and state reservoir levels are falling and in some cases are at all-time lows.

Lake Oroville in Northern California's Butte County has reached an historic low, forcing the shutdown of its hydroelectric generation plant for the first time ever.

Lake Oroville also happens to be the largest source of water for the state water project which supplies districts and cities on the Central Coast.

"The watersheds that provide water for the state water project are experiencing their driest year in over 100 years," said Ray Stokes of the Central Coast Water Authority.

The water is flowing at Cachuma Lake in Santa Barbara County where mandated water releases continue into the lower reaches of the Santa Ynez River as water levels in the lake sink by the month. Cachuma is a major source of water mostly for communities in southern Santa Barbara County.

Governor Newsom has called on Californians to voluntarily cut water use but he warns mandatory restrictions could come as soon as next month.

"Over 100 years we've never seen reservoir levels this low and so the opportunity to conserve is certainly here right now, we need to begin conserving now," Stoke said.

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Keith Carls

Keith Carls is a reporter at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Keith, click here.

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