Californians Beat New, Relaxed Target for Water Savings

A wet March helped boost water conservation, especially in Northern California. (Craig Miller/KQED)

Urban residents of California beat their goal for saving water in March by turning off their sprinklers when the rain fell.

The State Water Board says cities and businesses cut water use by more than 24 percent compared to the same month in 2013. Board chair Felicia Marcus called it "a stunningly welcome number" after a six-month run of declining conservation. The 24.3 percent mark doubled efforts in February, when much of California was dry, with record-high temperatures.

March water conservation marked a significant reversal from several months of declining savings in California.
March water conservation marked a significant reversal from several months of declining savings in California. (State Water Resources Control Board)

March is the first month under newly relaxed conservation requirements. Cities are now expected to use at least 20 percent less water, a break from the previous order of 25 percent.

A bright spot continues to be water use per capita by urban Californians, who have throttled back from an average of more than 100 gallons per person, per day in August, to 66 in March, with people in some locations using significantly less.

Officials say it's an indication that Californians have stuck to some of the water habits they formed during the state's most punishing drought on record.

Sponsored

An especially soggy March helped depress water use -- especially outdoor irrigation -- but rainfall in California tapers off dramatically at just this time of year; there's unlikely to be any "May miracle."

Sponsored

"We need to keep conserving," warns Marcus.  "We may not need the same levels of conservation as last year, but we still need to keep all we can in our reservoirs and groundwater basins in case this winter is just a punctuation mark in a longer drought.”

Volume
KQED Live
Live Stream
Log In ToPledge-Free Stream
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
Live Stream information currently unavailable.
Share
LATEST NEWSCAST
KQED
NPR
KQED Live

Live Stream

Live Stream information currently unavailable.