Californians Continue Strong Water Savings Under New Conservation Metric

Urban Californians statewide clocked a 20% reduction in water use in July over 2013 levels, continuing a strong pattern of water conservation under the new locally driven conservation standards, officials with the State Water Resources Control Board announced today.

The July figure is just one percentage point lower than the June savings of 21%. Overall, between June 2015 through July 2016, urban Californians saved 23.8% compared with the same months in 2013.

“The statewide July conservation results show that Californians continue to care about their communities and preserving precious water resources for the longer term,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus said in a written statement. “While Californians have maintained their conservation awareness and practices without top-down mandates, we are watching trends in  parts of California that suggest some areas may be easing up more than the improved conditions may warrant, while other areas are continuing to conserve for the long term.”

Staff with the State Water Board presented board members with a status report on statewide conservation activities. According to the report, nearly all urban suppliers continued to save water in July, even those that no longer face a state-mandated reduction. Under the board’s revised conservation regulations, water agencies that pass a “stress test” of supply reliability – by demonstrating that they have sufficient supplies to withstand three years of continuous drought — will not face a mandatory percentage reduction through January 2017, but are expected to keep conserving water. The July results varied across the state, with some agencies saving a bit less than they did under state-mandated targets, while others saved more than they had in 2015. Those stress test results are here.

“These are promising trends,” State Water Board Member Steven Moore said  after the staff presentation. “We’re seeing the long-term benefits of our culture change and conservation becoming a way of life.”

Under the revised emergency conservation regulation, the State Water Board expects all water suppliers tocontinue encouraging their customers to conserve, even if they pass their “stress test.” State Water Board officials say that the board is prepared to come back in early 2017 to reimpose higher mandatory water restrictions if needed.

Agencies that maintained strong conservation despite passing their “stress tests,” include: Sacramento, Beverly Hills, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Park Water Company (LA County), San Jose, San Francisco, and Contra Costa Water District. Some agencies even increased their level of conservation, such as Menlo Park, South San Francisco (California Water Company), Santa Fe Springs, Santa Barbara, Benicia, Hayward, Alhambra, Marina Coast Water District, Salinas and King City (California Water Service Company). A complete list of water supplier results for July is here.

July Conservation Data

  • Statewide water savings for July 2016 was 20% , 145,311 acre feet or 47.3 billion gallons.
  • Cumulative statewide percent reduction for June 2015 to July 2016 (14 months) is 23.8 percent, which equates to 1,899,336 acre-feet (618.9 billion gallons).
  • The cumulative water savings of 1.9 million acre feet is enough to supply more than 9.5 million people for a year.

The State Water Board continues to work with state partners to craft a long term strategy to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order calling for new water use efficiency targets, permanent prohibitions on water waste, and improved drought planning.  Information about the Executive Order can be found at: http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/conservation/

Tips on water cosnervation are available at www.saveourwater.com.