Californians reduced water use by 27.3 percent in June, exceeding the 25 percent mandate Gov. Jerry Brown imposed in response to near-zero snowpack and dwindling water reserves occurring as a result of a four-year drought, state officials announced Thursday. Brown declared the drought an emergency in 2014, and in April issued his order for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use, focused mostly on water used to irrigate decorative landscape such as grass lawns.
The first-ever state-mandated water-reduction ordinance began June 1 and runs through February 29, 2016, putting cities and urban water agencies on a nine-month water diet requiring between 8 percent and 36 percent conservation – for a potential saving of 1.2 million acre-feet.
“The agency said the drop came despite the month being the warmest June on record”. “We need to save as much as possible”.
Some communities opposed the targets assigned by the State Water Resources Control Board, calling the goals unfair and unrealistic.
Cities that fail to hit those marks could face state-ordered conservation measures and fines.
The water board says it will contact every agency that didn’t come close to its targets and ask for more information about what it’s doing to conserve.
Water waste enforcement also shot up drastically in June.
Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco are reporting significant water savings in June ahead of a statewide report.
Robyn Bullard, a spokeswoman for the public utilities department, credited a campaign that included television commercials and an e-mail blast to customers.
San Diego was among the cities that said the state should give it credit for past drought-preparation efforts that included paying for desalinated water. The Sacramento region led with a near 36 percent reduction, followed by the San Francisco Bay Area at 32 percent. Regulators are urging residents to neglect their lawns this summer to save water.
The East Bay Municipal Utility District, serving more than a million customers east of San Francisco, said it saved 31 percent in June, nearly double its target.
California is in the fourth year of the worst drought the state has experienced in decades.