A hearty applause for California urban dwellers who almost met Gov. Edmund Brown Jr.’s 25 percent water conservation mandate for the nine months since mandatory urban conservation began.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) reports that statewide cumulative water savings from June 2015 to February 2016 were 23.9 percent, compared to the same months in 2013.
“Twenty-four percent savings shows enormous effort and a recognition that everyone’s effort matters,” said State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “Californians rose to the occasion, reducing irrigation, fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, and saving our precious water resources in all sorts of ways.”
The June through February water savings equaled almost 1.19 million acre-feet of water, a 96 percent savings towards the 1.24 million acre-feet goal.
DWR says water saved during the nine month period could supply more than 5.9 million Californians for one year. That’s about the combined populations of San Diego, Riverside, and Tulare counties where 15 percent of the state’s population resides.
However, the statewide conservation rate dropped from 17.1 percent in January to 12 percent in February, likely because February 2016 was one of the warmest and driest Februaries since the drought began. Plus, residents generally use much less water for outdoor irrigation during the winter months.
In the meantime, DWR urges Californians to continue water conservation through the spring months.
“March brought us much needed rain and snow after a frightening February,” Marcus said. “It was more of a moderate March than the miracle March we hoped for, but we’re grateful for every raindrop and every snowflake, and we are still hoping for more April showers.”
She added, “We are in better shape than last year, but are still below average in most of California.”
On April 1, 2015, Gov. Brown mandated a 25 percent water use reduction through an executive order for urban water users in the Golden State. In May 2015, the State Water Board adopted an emergency regulation requiring an immediate 25 percent reduction in overall potable urban water use.
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