Drought may be nearly over, but Californians are still saving water

Drought may be nearly over, but Californians are still saving water.
The State Water Resources Board announced Tuesday that urban Californians reduced water usage by 25.1 percent in February, compared with the state’s baseline year of 2013.
The February conservation results were substantially better than a year ago, when mandatory restrictions were in place for much of California but the savings rate was only 11.9 percent.
The overall savings rate has been 22.5 percent since mandatory conservation took effect in June 2015, even though the state water board significantly relaxed the rules last summer.
Under the old rules, municipal water districts had to cut usage by an average of 25 percent compared with 2013; districts with exceptionally heavy water consumption, including most in the Sacramento region, had to slash consumption by as much as 36 percent.
This was the same spot where Gehrke stood next to Brown in April 2015, with the ground completely bare, and Brown issued his mandatory conservation order.
Even if the drought is declared over, the state water board and other agencies are working on a long-term plan to permanently ban practices that are deemed wasteful, such as excessively watering lawns.
The plan is called “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life.” Sign up Our Capitol Alert newsletter has updates on what’s new at California’s Capitol.
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Dale Kasler: 916-321-1066, @dakasler

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