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California achieves water conservation targets in June

Californias mandated 25percent water conservation target was exceeded in June
<p>California&#39;s mandated 25-percent water conservation target was exceeded in June.</p>
Governor mandates 25 percent water reductions on April 1 Snow survey that day reveals no snow in the mountains California reservoirs continue to fall

California officials are crediting public understanding of the state’s epic drought with a 27 percent reduction in water use in June.

The number was met with praise in the wake of Gov. Edmund Brown’s order to curb water usage by 25 percent.

“Californians understand the severity of the drought and they are taking action, as shown by the numbers,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

“We didn’t know if the positive showing in May was due in part to cooler temperatures,” Marcus continued. “This report shows that residents knew they had to keep conserving even during the summer heat.”

California’s urban water suppliers exceeded the statewide conservation goal, saving over 59 billion gallons (about 182,000 acre-feet) compared to the same period a year ago. June conservation efforts put the state on track to achieve the 1.2 million acre‑feet savings goal by Feb. 2016, as called for by the Governor in his April 1 executive order.

Water suppliers made significant investments in their education and outreach programs to communicate the need to conserve to their customers. June’s enforcement statistics highlight the growing awareness of how water is used locally as a result of these programs.

Water suppliers reported their compliance and enforcement programs saw an almost two-fold increase in the number of complaints of water waste which resulted in a big jump in reported penalties.

Monthly water use reports are required by the emergency water conservation regulation and are provided to the State Water Board by urban water suppliers. Urban water suppliers are expected to meet, or exceed, their individual conservation standard starting in June and continuing through Feb. 2016.

The year 2013 serves as the baseline for determining water savings statewide. The current report is posted here.

Success story

June Highlights:

  • Compared to 2013, water use in May was down 29.1 percent;
  • June water use was down 27.3 percent;
  • The state reports last June was the warmest June on record in California;
  • Water saved in June totaled 59.4 billion gallons, six times that saved the previous June;
  • June 2015 savings are 15 percent of the statewide savings goal of 1.2 million acre‑feet of water needed by Feb. 2016;
  • 265 water suppliers serving 27.2 million people met or exceeded their conservation standard; and,
  • Almost 40 percent of all urban water suppliers reduced their water use by 30 percent or more.

See the how the hydrologic regions did for the month of June here.

In April, water suppliers began reporting their compliance and enforcement efforts to promote conservation and reduce water waste. The June statistics demonstrate community and water supplier commitment to identify and correct wasteful practices:

  • 43,942 water waste complaints were reported statewide (by 371 suppliers), compared with 28,793 complaints reported in May (by 353 suppliers);
  • 35,295 formal warnings were issued for water waste statewide (by 307 suppliers), compared with 36,082 formal warnings in May (by 279 suppliers); and
  • 9,582 penalties were issued statewide (by 52 suppliers), compared with 1,928 penalties issued in May (by 49 suppliers).

By the end of June, four suppliers (one percent) had not imposed mandatory irrigation restrictions, and 19 suppliers (five percent) reported that they still allow outdoor watering seven days a week.

The June urban water supplier enforcement statistics can be found here.

June’s Top Performers

Dozens of communities achieved conservation levels of more than 30 percent in June, including Menlo Park (Bay Area), California Water Service Antelope Valley (High Desert) and Arvin Community Services District (Tulare Lake Region).

Los Angeles County’s Antelope Valley Waterworks District (District #40) realized a 42 percent reduction in June water use, nearly doubling the 22 percent savings achieved in May. The district implemented penalties for excessive water use and a drought surcharge to discourage excess water use.

San Gabriel Valley Water Company reduced water use by 35 percent in June. This compares to a 23 percent reduction in May. San Gabriel Valley’s Stage 2 drought restrictions and penalties were approved by the California Public Utilities Commission on June 22.

Santa Clara Valley Water District set a 30 percent savings goal for its service area in March 2015 and nine of its 11 urban water suppliers, including the San Jose Water Company and the City of San Jose, exceeded the 30 percent goal in June, leading to an overall savings rate of 35 percent for the district.

Yorba Linda Water District implemented Stage 3 of its drought ordinance effective June 1, creating penalties for excessive water use. The result was a 38 percent reduction in use, surpassing its 35 percent reduction achieved in May.

Compliance Statistics

  • Of the 405 water suppliers reporting, 265 suppliers (65 percent) met or were within 1 percent of their conservation standard;
  • 53 suppliers (13 percent) are between 1 and 5 percent of meeting their conservation standard; and,
  • 71 suppliers (18 percent) are between 5 and 15 percent of meeting their conservation standard.

However, there are 16 suppliers (4 percent) that are more than 15 percent from meeting their conservation standard.

The State Water Board will contact all suppliers more than 1 percent away from meeting their conservation standard and require many to provide information about their existing conservation programs and the steps they are taking to boost conservation.

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The suppliers furthest from meeting their conservation standard will be directed to take additional actions, such as imposing further restrictions on outdoor irrigation and increasing outreach and enforcement. The State Water Board cannot delay in using its enforcement tools to ensure water suppliers reach their mandated reductions.


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