The most extensive water usage survey to date, covering 362 cities, shows that Californians are finally getting the message and taking water conservation seriously.
California urban residents cut water usage in July by 7.5% compared to July of last year. According to the survey, the July water usage decline shows substantial progress from June and May statistics, which revealed a 4.4% June water usage decrease over last year and a 1% decrease in May water usage over the prior year.
The Contra Costa Times reported that Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, thinks that Californians are “heading in the right direction.” She believes that although people are still not doing enough, they are definitely “stepping up their games.”
Notably, the survey reveals Northern Californians are cutting water use more than Southern Californians. However, Los Angeles and San Diego already use far less water per capita than other parts of the state. According to water officials, Los Angeles uses 152 gallons a day compared with 279 gallons a day in Sacramento and 313 in Fresno.
Giving credence to the notion that people do what is inspected more than what is expected, the cities with the most restrictive water allotments and the ones that employed water cops and administered fines for over usage showed the most decrease in water usage.
Cities like Pleasanton and Livermore have 25 percent water usage cutback mandates and impose fines on those who do not comply. Both cities achieved water use declines of 36.7 percent and 35 percent respectively, reported the Times. “Fines do make a big difference,” Marcus explained. “Over time, we may find that there are areas that need to up their enforcement.”