Water conservation efforts across drought-stricken California hit a new high in August, cutting use by 11.5 percent, according to the state’s Water Resources Control Board. About 27 billion gallons of water were saved over the month of August as Californians responded to a call by Gov. Jerry Brown to cut use by 20 percent overall, with no end to the prolonged dry spell in sight. “Many more California communities are taking the drought seriously and making water conservation a priority — and residents are responding,” Felicia Marcus, State Water Board chair, said in a release. “However, while we can hope for rain, we can’t count on it, so we must keep going.” The earliest numbers for October showed nearly 60 percent of California in the highest category of drought, according to an assessment from the National Drought Mitigation Center. Eighty-one percent of California is now in a state of at least “extreme drought,” the second most severe category, up from 11 percent a year ago, with a total of 37,250,000 people affected.
— Matthew DeLuca