Water conservation amid drought: Who made the grade?

Residential water use
(Los Angeles Times)

On April 1, as California entered a fourth year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown stood in a barren field that should have been smothered in snow and demanded a 25% cut in urban water use.

To comply with Brown’s mandate, the State Water Resources Control Board developed reduction targets that each of California’s more than 400 urban water districts must meet over the next several months.

Districts that have had high residential water usage must cut their overall consumption by as much as 36%. Districts that have recorded low residential use will be required to cut their usage by as little as 4%. The targets were finalized by state regulators after weeks of public comment.

Regulators will evaluate compliance on both a monthly and a rolling cumulative basis beginning this month and running through February. Water use during that time will be compared with the same months in 2013. Districts that fail to meet reduction targets may be fined up to $10,000 a day.


The report cards show the targets for urban districts across California. They also show how much each district’s actual water usage increased or decreased in April 2015, as compared with April 2013. The April data are the latest available.

The state releases new water-use data at the beginning of each month. These report cards will be updated online at as new information is released. Regulators said water use for this month will be made public by early August.

Although districts will be judged on how much they reduce total water use — which includes commercial, industrial and other sectors — residential use usually makes up the largest share of water consumption in urban areas.


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