Summer isn't the easiest time to save water, but users in the Sacramento-area reduced their water use by 22 percent in June compared to the same month in 2013. The savings is the first following the end of mandatory statewide conservation rules.
The June 2016 conservation analysis is from the Regional Water Authority, which represents water providers in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Yolo and Sutter counties.
The findings come from a review of June water use data submitted to the RWA and the California State Water Resources Control Board.
"The June savings rate is absolutely remarkable," says RWA Water Efficiency Program Manager Amy Talbot. "State-mandated conservation has ended, and yet residents are continuing to use less water."
Mandatory statewide water regulations ended in May 2016 and many water providers, including the Sacramento Regional Water Authority, have asked users to voluntarily conserve a certain level.
"So we're hoping people are applying the lessons they learned during the last couple years in the drought on how to modify what they're doing with their landscape and inside (the home) and that some of those actions will stick around, and I think that's what we're seeing when we have this 22 percent savings in June," says Talbot.
The State Water Resources Control Board on May 18 adopted new emergency water conservation regulations. Under the new rules, water providers are allowed to set their conservation standard based upon local water supply conditions and the ability to meet customer demand should the state experience three consecutive years of drought.
The RWA says all 22 Sacramento-area water providers have certified that they have adequate supplies so that state-mandated conservation is no longer necessary.
Even so, many providers are continuing to ask customers to voluntarily reduce water use, maintaining funding for water conservation programs at 2015 drought levels and continuing to enforce water waste regulations above pre-drought levels, according to a recent Regional Water Authority survey of its members.
Many water providers in the Sacramento region offer rebates to help offset costs for removing grass or installing other "water-wise" products and fixtures.
Information about rebate programs, as well as tips for reducing water use, are available at: http://bewatersmart.info/
The U.S. Drought Center reported July 21 that 59 percent of California is in severe drought, 42 percent remains in extreme and 21 percent is in exceptional drought.
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center shows drought persisting in California through October 31, 2016.