(Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown has extended his executive order requiring residents to conserve water as the state readies for a fifth year of drought.
The order gives state water officials greater authority to deal with drought conditions and to cope with potential winter storms from El Nino, a periodic warming of ocean surface temperatures. Brown's office announced the order on Friday.
Brown has ordered communities throughout the state to reduce water use 25 percent this year in the first-ever mandatory cutbacks. State regulators set targets for local agencies and the goals were to expire in February.
The Democratic governor's new order lets emergency water conservation measures to continue through October if California still faces a drought in January.
The order also extends the suspension of some environmental rules, lets some state residents capture more water and eases expedites rebuilding permits for power plants damaged by wildfires.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by David Gregorio)