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California Extends Water Restrictions

California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources employees conduct a manual snow survey of the season at Phillips Station near Echo Summit, Calif., Feb. 2, 2016.

Regulators in the Western state of California voted Tuesday to extend water restrictions ordered by the governor in June to battle years of drought.

The mandate to conserve water will now last through at least October with Californians asked to cut their usage by about 25 percent.

The State Water Resources Control Board did ease the restrictions slightly for especially hot and dry areas of the state.

California may see a big improvement in its water supply this year compared to 2015 thanks to much more snowfall in its Sierra Nevada mountains. Officials took a measurement there Tuesday and said the accumulated snow is 30 percent above the normal for this time of year. Last year's measurement at this point was more than 80 percent lower than normal.

That snow will melt and fill reservoirs during the warm spring and summer months when water usage is at its highest.

The board reported Tuesday that since Governor Jerry Brown instituted the water cutbacks, water use fell slightly more than his target of 25 percent.

Usage in December was only down 18 percent, but the board said that was expected since there are fewer opportunities to save water in winter months when people are not doing activities like watering grass.