Californians Show Ongoing Commitment to Water Conservation

Data released Wednesday shows Californians have maintained a significant level of water conservation, with cumulative statewide water savings since June 2015 now at 23.3% over 2013 levels.

While many water agencies have passed a “stress test” demonstrating they can maintain supply reliability in case of three more years of drought, data reported by the State Water Board shows that Californians continue to use water wisely under local conservation programs without statewide emergency mandates.

ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said the numbers are a positive sign that urban Californians are making ongoing water efficiency a priority.

“It’s important to remember that efficiency and drought preparedness are the objectives of the ‘stress test’ approach adopted by the state,” Quinn said in a statement. “We should take pride in the fact that many urban water suppliers are drought-prepared and do not need to require their customers to continue extraordinary conservation measures such as putting a bucket in the shower or letting their lawns go completely brown.

“Even so, the vast majority are maintaining robust conservation programs and putting significant dollars and resources into rebates, water-wise house calls, and public outreach to help Californians continue to make permanent changes  in the way they use water both indoors and outdoors,” he continued.

The State Water Board report showed that 90% of urban water suppliers have continued to see conservation levels of 10% or more, compared with the same month in 2013. More than a third of urban suppliers report conservation levels between 21% and 50%.

Though the board continues to report on monthly conservation data, Quinn said the more appropriate performance measure is drought preparedness and ongoing efficiency.

“A slight dip in monthly conservation numbers was predicted as local agencies adjusted their local conservation requirements to meet local conditions,” said Quinn. “The uptick in water use seen in August, however, does not reflect an abandonment of conservation. It reflects a change in the overall approach and the fact that local communities are emphasizing water supply reliability and efficiency as a way of life, which is different from emergency conservation.”

August Conservation Data (Source: State Water Board)

  • Statewide water savings for August 2016 was 17.7% compared to August 2013.
  • Cumulative statewide percent reduction for June 2015 to August 2016 (15 months) is 23.3%, which equates to 2,024,599 acre-feet (659.7 billion gallons).

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:

Tips on water conservation are available at