California Drought: State Cut Water Use by 31 Percent in July

Meet the Next: Shade Balls

Aug. 19, 201501:26

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By James Eng and Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. -- State officials say California cities cut their water use by a combined 31 percent in July, exceeding Gov. Jerry Brown's statewide mandate to conserve. The state's Water Resources Control Board released the most recent figures Thursday.

The governor has ordered cities to use 25 percent less as California endures a fourth year of drought. In June, the state conserved by 27 percent compared with 2013, the year before Brown declared a drought emergency.

Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said the strong conservation figures show Californians understand the need to use less water.

Related: California Drought: Study Sees Dying Wildlife, Bigger Fires

“Californians’ response to the severity of the drought this summer is now in high gear and shows that they get that we are in the drought of our lives. This isn’t your mother’s drought or your grandmother’s drought, this is the drought of the century,” Marcus said in a statement.

Meet the Next: Shade Balls

Aug. 19, 201501:26

She said regulators are now turning their attention to individual communities that aren't meeting their mandated targets. They're visiting each underperforming community to understand the problem; fines are also an option.

Brown signed an executive order on April 1 imposing mandatory water-use restrictions across the state. July’s water savings moved the state 228,940 acre-feet (74.6 billion gallons) closer to the goal of saving 1.2 million acre‑feet by February 2016.