Despite drought, Californians fall short in water cutbacks


State water officials announced Thursday that urban water users overall have managed to use 24.8 percent less water since mandatory conservation began previous year.

That just misses the level Gov. Jerry Brown had ordered in what is now the state’s fifth year of drought. El Segundo continues to lag well behind its 20 percent conservation mandate, with a cumulative conservation rate of 3.9 percent.
People in Indio, Coachella and Desert Hot Springs also saved significantly more water in January.
However, in an “unprecedented conservation achievement”, the state conserved 1.1 million acre-feet of water from June 2013 through January, putting California 96 percent of the way toward reaching its goal of 1.2 million acre-feet of water savings by the end of February, the water board said.
Though higher than the 10-percent estimate given in December, the latest guess by the California Department of Water Resources could be reduced if no more rain and snow comes this season, DWR officials warned.
The largest local water supplier, the city of San Diego, saved 11.7 percent in January, short of its target of 16 percent. Manhattan Beach surpassed its goal at 23.8 percent, rebounding from only 12.5 percent the previous month.
“Folks see rain and think the drought is over”, said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the Water Board. That figure is down from 44 percent three months ago.
“Today’s increase, although good news, does not mean the drought is ending”, said agency director Mark Cowin.
“Having more flexible, modular and adaptable supply options – dams, major pipelines, desalination plants, recycling capacity – can save a lot of money and prevent the construction of stranded assets”, said Professor White.
California is not out of the woods just yet with respect to the drought as state water officials estimate most water recipients could receive up to 30 percent of their allocation this year.