By Ron Jones

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A panel of top federal, state and local officials warned Californians that four years of drought may be far from the end.

The panel of experts met at the Crest Theater in Sacramento on Thursday and urged community leaders to continue to sound the drought alarm.

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The panel shared the latest drought statistics and projections to sound the alarm even louder.

“We don’t know if its going to rain next year. We don’t know if its going to rain after that,” said Felicia Marcus withe the State Water Resources Control Board.

She says Californians should brace for a possible Australian-type of drought. That country was hammered with dry conditions for 10 long years.

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With the state’s record-low snowpack and diminishing reservoir levels, it’s not known when the next significant rain and snow might come.

“We need to prepare now as if it won’t,” she said.

Many people CBS13 spoke to embrace the conservation mandate.

The panel says even for those Californians who get it, the finger-pointing needs to stop and they need to focus on individual efforts.

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“The average Californian knows the drought is serious,” Marcus said. “The average Californian thinks they’re doing something about it and they think their neighbor is not.”