Drought-stricken California boosts conservation for March

FRESNO — Residents of drought-stricken California doubled their water conservation efforts in March compared with the month before by turning off their sprinklers when the rain fell and changing habits, officials said Tuesday.

Cities and businesses used 24.3 percent less water compared with the same time in 2013. That’s twice the saving from the dry month of February, when the savings hit an all-time low of 12 percent, water regulators announced at a meeting in Sacramento.

“This is the most welcomed news I’ve had in a long time,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “In the rain, people know to turn off their sprinklers.”

March was a cooler and wetter month, and officials also credited Californians with changing their habits, especially when it comes to watering their outdoor landscaping, which consumes half of a home’s water use.

Conservation since mandatory cutbacks began in June 2015 has saved enough water to serve 6.5 million people for one year, or 17 percent of the state’s population, officials reported.

March is the first month under relaxed conservation requirements. Californians are expected to use at least 20 percent less water, a break from the previous nine months ending in February when Californians were under stricter orders to conserve by 25 percent.

A nearly average amount of rain and snow this winter has eased California’s dry spell, filling key reservoirs in Northern California. Officials warned, however, that the state remains in a drought.

This month state regulators in Sacramento are busy writing a new method for conservation in the five-year drought that will be implemented in June. They have said requirements could be reduced in some areas and maintained in others.

The easing drought has prompted many local water districts to say they want to set their own conservation targets. Other water districts say the state should completely drop the drought emergency because key reservoirs in Northern California are nearly full.

New regulations, however, with likely keep in place some level of conservation requirements, officials said.

“Californians have risen to the occasion and acquired habits and skills to conserve,” said Jelena Hartman, a state water board senior scientist for climate change. “I believe this is showing the commitment Californians have for conservation.”CaliforniaCalifornia droughtconservation effortsFresnoWater Resources Control Board

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Prop. 21 would allow San Francisco city officials to expand rent control to cover thousands more units. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tenant advocates take another try at expanding rent control with Prop. 21

Measure would allow city to impose new protections on properties 15 years or older

Tenderloin residents are finding benefits to having roads closed in the neighborhood. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Should there be fewer cars in the Tenderloin’s future?

The pandemic has opened San Franciscans’ eyes to new uses of urban streets

Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. 
Dennis Leupold
Cam challenges country music tropes

Bay Area-bred songwriter releases ‘The Otherside’

Most Read