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With nearly 60 percent of California having fallen into the "exceptional drought" category, a drought workshop in downtown Hollister will be open to agriculture interests, residents and businesses to learn more about the local programs and services that can assist them in using water more efficiently.

The "Drought Workshop: Ways We Can All Save Water," will be held Thursday, Aug. 28 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Paine's Restaurant, 421 East St. in downtown Hollister. The free event, which will include breakfast, is sponsored by the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau, Green Business Committee, FarmHouse Communications, the Water Resources Association of San Benito County, and the National Resource Conservation Service's Hollister Office.

Seating is limited, so those interested in reserving a spot are encouraged to call 637-4378.

According to the National Weather Service, California is short more than one year's worth of reservoir water, or 11.6 million acre-feet. Topsoil and subsoil moisture reserves are nearly deplted and the state's rangeland and pastures were rated 70 percent poor to very poor. The United States Department of Agriculture reported that "range and non-irrigated pasture conditions continued to deteriorate" and that "supplemental feeding of hay and nutrients continued as range quality declined."

In recent days, new wildfires have charred more than 15,000 acres of vegetation in northern and central California. For more information on water conservation, click here