California Water Use Falls Dramatically in April

Water faucet (Justin Sullivan / Getty)
Justin Sullivan / Getty

Californians saved 13.9 percent more water in April as compared with the same month in 2013, a significant improvement over the last several months’ dismal conservation numbers.

On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a mandatory 25 percent water cut across the state, the first such water restrictions in California history. It appears Californians have begun heeding the governor’s executive order, as April water conservation improved dramatically over March’s paltry 3.9 percent cutback and February’s similarly disappointing 2.6 percent cut.

Water regulators called the April savings a “step in the right direction,” but said more needed to be done to safeguard against the state’s now four-year-long drought.

“While these results are a step in the right direction, there are still too many lush landscapes where irrigation must be reduced to meet the 25 percent statewide reduction mandate,” State Water Resources Control Board chairwoman Felicia Marcus told the Contra Costa Times. “The real test will be what happens as we move into the hot and dry summer months when we need to keep the sprinklers off as much as possible.”

California’s April water reduction varied greatly from city to city. According to the Times, Sacramento residents led the way with a 23.7 percent water reduction, while the Bay Area cut usage 19.9 percent overall.

But large urban areas between Los Angeles and San Diego managed to cut usage just 8.7 percent. Southern California cities have generally lagged behind others in their conservation efforts; in February, water use in San Diego actually increased by nearly 8 percent.

The new savings are a welcome sight for a state growing increasingly desperate. Last week, the California Department of Water Resources reported that snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, a traditionally dependable and crucial source of surface water for the state during the dry summer months, is at a record 0% of normal levels.


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