Statewide water conservation numbers for the month of September were released today, and the state joined Long Beach in meeting the governor’s mandated reductions in water use. Specifically, the state decreased its water use by 26 percent last month compared to September 2013—one percent more than the statewide goal of decreasing water use by 25 percent.
Cumulatively, the statewide water conservation rate in June through September was 28.1 percent.
Earlier this month, the Long Beach Water Department (LBWD) announced it had exceeded its city-specific 16 percent state water conservation mandate for the fourth month in a row, numbers consistent with those of the state as a whole, using 19 percent less water than September 2013.
“Millions of Californians have saved water during the summer months, which are the four most critical months to save water,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) said in a statement. “This is important and wonderful, and we are thankful for all of the effort by individuals and agencies. Now, we need to keep it up as best we can, even as we hope for as much rain and snow as we can safely handle. We’re in the position of having to prepare for drought and flooding at the same time, but that’s what we’re faced with.”
The statewide water conservation rate of 26 percent was just under the 27 percent conservation rate recorded for August.
According to a release issued by the state water board, the state is has saved 65 percent of its overall goal of saving 1.2 million acre-feet by Feburary 2016, with its recorded savings of 777,739 acre-feet, or 253.4 billion gallons of water saved thus far.
While most cities have met or exceeded the state mandate, as the statewide numbers show, a few communities have failed to meet their assigned targets and have been issued $61,000 fines, the state water board stated in the release. The penalties are based on the water board’s right to issue $500 fines per day for violating the state mandate in addition to $10,000 per day fines for violating a Cease and Desist order, according to the release.
The four cities issued such fines are Beverly Hills, Indio, Redlands and the Coachella Valley Water District. Each city has 20 days to appeal the penalties to the water board.
Since June, the state water board has issued eight conservation orders, 99 information orders, 68 warning letters and seven alternative compliance orders to water suppliers that have not met the conservation standards.
“Up and down the state, residents and water suppliers are making the necessary sacrifices needed to help California meet its conservation goals. However, some urban water suppliers simply have not met the requirements laid before them,” said Cris Carrigan, director of the Office of Enforcement in a statement. “For these four suppliers, it’s been too little too late to achieve their conservation standard.”