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California Governor Orders State's First-Ever Water Use Restrictions Following Record Low April Snowpack

California Governor Jerry Brown ordered water use restrictions for the drought-stricken state on Wednesday for the first time in its history.

The mandatory restrictions are an effort to reduce water usage by 25 percent statewide, following a staggering report on Wednesday by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) regarding snowpack in the Sierra.

"The California Department of Water Resources found no snow whatsoever today during its manual survey for the media at 6,800 feet in the Sierra Nevada," the report, released Wednesday, reads.

"This was the first time in 75 years of early-April measurements at the Phillips snow course that no snow was found there."

Electronic readings revealed that the statewide snowpack holds only 1.4 inches of water content, just 5 percent of the historical average of 28.3 inches for April 1.

Traditionally, the snowpack is at its peak in early April before melting begins.

"Today's survey underscores the severity of California's drought," DWR Director Mark Cowin said Wednesday.

"Water conservation must become a way of life during the worst drought in most Californians' lifetimes."

The order is an escalation of Brown's January 2014 request that Californians voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent.

The executive order includes plans to create a consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with newer, energy efficient ones, reduce water usage on large landscapes such as campuses, golf courses and cemeteries and replace 50-million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought-tolerant landscaping, among other projects.

More than 92 percent of the state is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor's latest report.