California’s water conservation target almost reached

April 8, 2016

Californians saved 23.9 percent compared with the same period in the baseline year of 2013.

SACRAMENTO — April 4, 2016 — Californians fell just short of Gov. Jerry Brown’s 25 percent water conservation goal, according to state data released this week.

The State Water Resources Control Board said that mandatory reductions from June through February saw Californians cumulatively saving 23.9 percent compared with the same period in the baseline year of 2013.

That represents 96 percent of the savings goal of 1.24 million acre-feet. Water saved during the nine-month period is enough to supply 5.9 million Californians for one year — that’s approximately the combined population of San Diego, Riverside and Tulare counties, or 15 percent of the state’s population.

Welcoming the reduction, State Water Board chair Felicia Marcus said: “Twenty-four percent savings shows enormous effort and a recognition that everyone’s effort matters. Californians rose to the occasion, reducing irrigation, fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, and saving our precious water resources in all sorts of ways.”

Statewide, the conservation rate dropped from 17.1 percent in January to 12 percent in February. This is likely because February 2016 was one of the warmest and driest Februaries since the drought began. Residents also typically use much less water for outdoor irrigation in the winter months, so there is less opportunity for high volume savings.

Officials urged Californians to continue saving water through the spring months.

“These efforts should include complying with urban water supplier directives on when outdoor irrigation is permitted, not irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following a rain event, and fixing leaks that are discovered during individual water user audits,” the State Water Board said.

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