Drought update: How bad it really is and how you can help

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THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - The entire state of California is in a severe drought. In January, Governor Jerry Brown issued an emergency drought declaration and asked state residents to cut water usage by 20 percent. It's a number the state hasn't even come close to.

Each region of the state is different, and has different water needs. But, collectively it is crucial for the state to meet that 20 percent goal. 

According to the State Water Resources Control Board, between January and May of this year Californians have cut their water usage by five percent.

The Sacramento Valley has cut back the most, reportedly decreasingly their water use by 10 percent. On the other hand, the central coast and the San Francisco Bay area tied for last, conserving just zero to two percent.

Part of Riverside County, including Moreno Valley, achieved a 25 percent reduction in water use over the past decade. The same part of Riverside County also uses more recycled water. Those measures helped the region save almost $11 million per year in water costs and almost $3 million in energy costs.

Although a step in the right direction, there won't be relief until the state as a whole reaches its goal of cutting water usage by 20 percent.

Here are some tips to help conserve water at home:

-Wash full loads of dishes and laundry. 

-Adjust your sprinklers with the seasons.

-Use a broom instead of the garden hose.

-Check your toilet for leaks.

-Install a smart irrigation controller.

-Replace sprinkler spray heads with MSMT nozzles.

-Replace appliances and fixtures with water-efficient models.

-Determine your household water usage and fix leaks immediately. 

-Replace your lawn with desert-friendly, water efficient plants. 

It is looking increasingly more likely that El Nino could make a comeback this year. It would bring huge relief to the current drought situation, but could also be devastating to other parts of the world.

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