California’s urban water conservation rate reached 22 percent in December, exceeding the 20 percent conservation goal set by Governor Jerry Brown. Heavy rain led to reduced outdoor watering. But the State Water Board’s Katheryn Landau says nature isn’t the only explanation for the savings.
"It also indicates that the water conservation efforts that we’ve taken, such as turning off the outdoor sprinklers, not over watering our lawns and etc, are having a really positive impact on our conservation efforts," she says.
The water board reports daily water use is also declining statewide. In December the average person used about 67 gallons of water per day. That’s down from about 89 gallons in November.
But an exceedingly dry start to 2015 has officials reminding Californians they must continue conserving. Governor Jerry Brown says while California is doing its part to save water, the drought is far from over.
The water board says it is likely emergency conservation regulations will be extended and possibly tightened. Water board staffer Eric Oppenheimer says local regulations vary widely.
"Not all mandatory restrictions are created equal," he says. "And some of these mandatory restrictions are limits on, you know, you can’t water during the day. While others go as far as limits on days of the week and minutes per station."
The current emergency regulations expire in April.