June water savings in California exceed governor’s decree

Despite the sweltering summer heat most Californians met or hurdled Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency 25 percent mandate, according to June figures released Thursday by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Vacaville, meanwhile, was one of the cities that far surpassed the state’s savings of 27.3 percent.

“The state numbers are good news,” acknowledged Mark Mazzaferro, city spokesman. “Vacaville’s numbers are even better. We’re at a 39 percent reduction from 2013. But, we’re going to need to keep that pace up because come winter, it’s going to be harder to conserve.”

The community, he pointed out, understands the need to save water and has wholeheartedly pitched in.

“We’re thrilled with the efforts of our residents and our businesses,” Mazzaferro said. “We need to keep up the good work.”

Several other Solano cities did well.

Dixon saved 35.6 percent, Fairfield 28.2, Rio Vista 26.6, Benicia 36.2 and Vallejo 27.

Suisun City came close, at 24.9 percent.

All but two Solano cities met personal goals set by the state. Rio Vista missed its goal by 10.6 percent and Suisun by 3.1.

They’re joined by more than 100 other municipalities that missed their goals, 53 by 1-5 percent, 71 by 5-15 percent and 16 by more than 15 percent.

Water board officials are slated to meet with representatives of these cities, discuss what happened and what can be tweaked. Then, fines may or may not be levied.

“Our goal is conservation, not fines,” emphasized Max Gomberg, the board’s climate and conservation manager.

Back in April, Brown instituted the 25 percent conservation mandate in response to the severity of the continuing drought, now in its fourth year. As a result, cities throughout the state slashed outdoor watering, said to be the source of most water waste, to two-three days a week, among other cutbacks. Brown also dictated conservation goals for each city, based on 2013 water usage.

“Californians understand the severity of the drought and they are taking action, as shown by the numbers released today,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, in a press statement. “We didn’t know if the positive showing in May was due in part to cooler temperatures. This report shows that residents knew they had to keep conserving even during the summer heat and they kept the sprinklers off more than they would in a normal year. That’s the right attitude as we head into August and September heat—in the drought of the century with no certain end date.”

It’s reportedly the hottest June on record and the state has still saved 59.4 billion gallons (182,151 acre-feet) as compared to the same time in 2013, officials said. Such efforts have put the state on track to achieve the 1.2 million acre‑feet savings goal by February, they continued.

Marcus expressed pride in Californians for letting their lawns go “California golden,” and for being “consciously conservative.”

“These are unusual times and they call for unusual measures,” she said. “This really is a community effort. … As Californians, we really are in this together.”

As enforcement is part of the conservation effort, the water board, together with the California Department of Technology and Save Our Water launched SaveWater.CA.Gov, where people can report water waste from mobile and other devices.

The anonymous tip is then sent directly to the water agency serving the area where the report is made.

For more information, visit www.waterboards.ca.gov.

Source: thereporter.com ~ By Kimberly Fu

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