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Californians Reduce Water Use By 27 Percent in June

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Water regulators are praising Californians for reducing their water use by 27 percent in June. But some communities still have a long way to go to meet mandatory requirements.

Statewide, 16 urban water suppliers are more than 15 percent away from meeting their conservation target. That’s the worst in the state. Those suppliers face state-ordered conservation measures and could face fines.

Communities have been given nine months starting in June to cut water use between 4 and 36 percent compared to 2013 levels.

“If they’re off their mark through the summer when the greatest volume of water savings is possible, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for them to make that up.” says Max Gomberg, conservation manager with the State Water Resources Control Board. 

The Rancho California Water District in Temecula only achieved 14 percent savings even though they have a 36-percent target. But Meggan Valencia with the district says she expects that to change, when people see a change in their tiered-pricing rates.

“A lot of times customers don’t make changes until they get that first bill in hand which customers are just starting to get those bills now,” says Valencia.

Gomberg says the board will discuss next steps with districts that are 15 percent away from their target next week.  "Our intent is to develop enforceable orders that will require additional actions to achieve additional conservation for this group," says Gomberg. "It's a small group but they’re significantly off the mark and we need to get them back on track."

The majority of suppliers met or came within one percent of their requirement. The city of Santa Barbara tripled its conservation rate. Madeline Ward, water conservation manager, says the city got some rain in June but people there are reminded of the drought every day.

“We have our local water supply quite visible to our community because our main source is our local reservoir, Lake Cachuma, and people see the water level consistently dropping and dropping over the past couple of years,” says Ward.

Urban water suppliers issued almost 10,000 penalties or fines to water wasters statewide in June, up from almost 2,000 in May. The state has also launched a new website that allows reporting of suspected leaks and water waste anywhere in the state. You can drought-shame at savewater.ca.gov

 View all communities conservation rate here.


Amy Quinton

Former Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio 

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