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California Exceeds June Water Reduction Target in Battle Against Drought

Californians cut water use by 27.3 percent in June, the State Water Resources Control Board announced Thursday, good enough to exceed Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order earlier this year for a 25 percent statewide water reduction.

The savings were even more remarkable coming as the state grappled with its hottest month ever in June.

“Californians understand the severity of the drought and they are taking action, as shown by the numbers released today,” State Water Board chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in a statement.

We didn’t know if the positive showing in May was due in part to cooler temperatures. This report shows that residents knew they had to keep conserving even during the summer heat and they kept the sprinklers off more than they would in a normal year. That’s the right attitude as we head into August and September heat – in the drought of the century with no certain end date.

June’s encouraging numbers come after Californians cut water use by 28.9 percent in May.

In all, 265 water agencies serving more than 27 million people met or exceeded their conservation targets, according to Board data. Forty percent of the state’s water agencies managed to hit conservation levels of 30 percent or more.

Enforcement action against water wasters soared; the Board reported 43,942 water waste complaints in June, up from 28,793 in May. Last month, 9,582 penalties were issued, compared with 1,928 penalties issued in May.

In its report, the Board singled out several exceedingly well-performing water districts, including Los Angeles County’s Antelope Valley Waterworks District (44 percent), San Gabriel Valley Water Company (35 percent), San Jose’s Santa Clara Valley Water District (35 percent), and the Yorba Linda Water District (38 percent).

The Board also said there were 16 water suppliers, representing four percent of the state total, that were more than 15 percent from meeting conservation goals. The Board will consult with every agency more than one percent off their conservation goals to ensure savings methods are being implemented correctly.

California could soon see some relief from the drought; according to new models from the National Weather Service, there is a greater-than 95 percent chance of a “strong” El Niño affecting the West Coast this winter, and a greater-than-60-percent chance of that El Niño becoming the most powerful weather event of its kind in history.

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