California failed to meet its monthly water conservation target in October for the first time since Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory regulations took effect in June, but the state remains on track to meet the 25 percent overall reduction target required to be reached by February.
Californians cut water use by 22.2 percent in October, down from 26.4 percent in the previous month, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. Overall, the state has cut water use by 27.1 percent in the five months since Gov. Brown’s mandate took effect earlier this summer.
The Board said that the drop in outdoor watering during October contributed to the slight dip in the state’s conservation rate.
“It’s harder to keep the percentages up in the fall and winter when little outdoor watering takes place. That’s why the savings over the summer were so important,” said State Water Resources Control Board chair Felicia Marcus, adding:
“Now, we need to keep finding ways to save water. While El Nino storms may bring significant rain this winter, the depth of our drought and the uncertainty of the amount, type, and location of precipitation means we have to continue conserving every way we can. In other words, unless we get a ton of snow in the Sierras that lasts through April, every drop saved today is one we’ll be glad we have tomorrow.”
The State Water Board, an unelected panel appointed directly by the governor, could opt to extend Brown’s conservation mandate past its February 2016 expiration date if the El Niño does not significantly alleviate the state’s water problems. The board will hold a public workshop on December 7 to discuss what the next phase of the regulations might look like.
In an email to Breitbart News, Marcus said an extension of Brown’s regulations is “likely in some form early next year.”
October’s conservation report notably omitted any mention of water agencies that have failed to meet conservation targets during California’s punishing drought. September’s report specifically called out the cities of Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and the Coachella Valley for consistently failing to meet conservation targets. Each of the suppliers was fined $61,000 for non-compliance.
Overall, water agency compliance decreased in October; of the 409 agencies reporting, 69 percent came within one percentage point of meeting their conservation targets, while 15 percent came within one to five percent of meeting their goals.