Good Job Saving Water, California! Now Don’t Get Cocky.

Despite the summer heat, urban water use fell by 27 percent in June.

<a href="http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/thumbs-up-in-death-valley-national-park-17716036?st=1f850ec">rafalkrakow</a>/iStock


California’s State Water Board announced some good news today: As the state’s historic drought continues through its fifth hot summer, conservation efforts resulted in a reduction of urban water use of more than 59 billion gallons—six times the amount conserved during the same time last year—during the hottest June on record.

These are the first monthly water conservation numbers to be released since Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order calling for emergency regulations and a 25 percent reduction in urban water use across the state. The 27 percent saved in June exceeded his mandate, and Water Board officials say the state is now on track to meet its savings goal of 391 trillion gallons by February 2016. Officials are hopeful that they can maintain this conservation momentum in July and August, when water use tends to be highest, to offset the smaller savings usually seen in the autumn and winter months.

Water Board officials attribute the success to efforts by most of the state’s 409 water districts, the bodies that are in charge of allocating water to homes, businesses, farms, and other users. While 65 percent of water districts met conservation targets, the Water Board announced that it is starting to crack down on those that fell short.

During a press conference, officials revealed plans to help districts cut back even further. Soon, they will require water districts to increase outreach and enforcement at local levels, reduce the number of days a week outdoor irrigation is allowed, increase audits for large properties, and enhance programs that provide rebates and incentives for conservation.

The worst offenders—16 districts that were more than 15 percent behind on savings—could soon face fines between $500 and $10,000 a day, if they don’t follow the Board’s orders to reduce water use.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.