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California Says Water Use Fell By 27 Percent In June

A woman works among drought-tolerant plants in her front yard in San Diego, July 9, 2014.
Associated Press
A woman works among drought-tolerant plants in her front yard in San Diego, July 9, 2014.

California Says Water Use Fell By 27 Percent In June
Data released by the State Water Resources Control Board shows 265 out of 411 local agencies hit or nearly reached savings targets.

Water use in California fell by 27 percent in June, passing the conservation target set by Gov. Jerry Brown during the drought, regulators said Thursday.

Data released by the State Water Resources Control Board shows 265 out of 411 local agencies hit or nearly reached savings targets.

Local Water Districts, Cities That Missed State-Mandated Targets:

Fallbrook Public Utility District - 9 percent decrease (Target: 36 percent)

Valley Center - 34 percent decrease (Target: 36 percent)

Rainbow - 21 percent decrease (Target: 36 percent)

Rincon Del Diablo - 30 percent decrease (Target: 32 percent)

San Dieguito - 18 percent decrease (Target: 28 percent)

Carlsbad - 25 percent decrease (Target: 28 percent)

Source: City News Service

Local Water Districts, Cities That Reached Targets:

Santa Fe Irrigation District - 37 percent decrease

Poway - 36 percent decrease

Vallecitos - 34 percent decrease

Olivenhain - 33 percent decrease

Escondido - 32 percent decrease

Lakeside - 32 percent decrease

Ramona - 28 percent decrease

Padre Dam - 28 percent decrease

Vista - 27 percent decrease

California-American Water Company of San Diego

Otay - 26 percent decrease

Sweetwater - 26 percent decrease

Oceanside - 25 percent decrease

Helix - 25 percent decrease

City of San Diego - 24 percent decrease

Source: City News Service

The savings came during the hottest June on record, which would normally lead to an uptick in water use. Prior savings have occurred during unusually wet months

The report confirms figures previously released by California's largest cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco, showing strong water conservation.

The agencies that met or came within 1 percent of their mandatory water conservation target serve 27 million Californians.

"The June numbers tell a story of conscious conservation, and that's what we need and are applauding today," said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the water board. "We need to save as much as possible. That is water essentially in the bank for a future dry year or more."

Brown previously ordered an overall 25 percent reduction in urban water use compared to 2013 levels. His administration gave each community nine months to hit assigned conservation targets as high as 36 percent.

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. The worst performers will be told to ramp up water waste enforcement or limit the number of days residents can water lawns.

Water waste enforcement also shot up drastically in June. Agencies issued more than 9,500 penalties compared to about 1,900 in May.

June was the month conservation went from a polite request to a demand by the governor to let lawns go brown, take shorter showers and implement other measures. Programs in Southern California offering millions of dollars to residents who rip out lawns have been exhausted.

State regulators assigned conservation targets between 8 and 36 percent. Water savings are compared to 2013, the year before Brown declared a drought emergency.

Meteorologists say a wet California winter is increasingly likely as a strong El Niño condition builds in the Pacific Ocean, although it's unclear if it will be a drought-buster.