Monday June 12, 2023

Los Angeles Times

The results are in: As California endured its three driest years on record, urban water users made a significant effort to conserve, but fell far short of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request to reduce water use by 15%.

Between July 2021, when Newsom first called on water users to voluntarily cut back, and March of this year, when he rescinded that request amid a very wet winter, statewide savings were 7%, or about half of what was requested. That amounts to about 9 fewer gallons per person per day, a Los Angeles Times analysis has found.

The findings varied considerably by region and by water district, with the North Coast and San Francisco Bay areas saving the most water — 14% and 12%, respectively — against the baseline year of 2020. The inland Tulare Lake and Colorado River regions saved the least, 4% and 2%, respectively. (The analysis did not include agricultural water use.)

State officials say the numbers belie the long-term conservation efforts Californians have made in recent decades, including significant savings during the 2012-16 drought, which ended only a few years before Newsom’s request.

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