California water use rose in July, despite calls from the governor to cut use by 15 percent across the state.
In July, Governor Gavin Newsom called for all Californians to reduce their water use by 15 percent. While water users in Northern California made strides toward accomplishing that goal, Southern Californians’ water use stayed flat, and in Los Angeles and San Diego, water use increased slightly, according to new data released by the State Water Resources Control Board. Statewide, water use dropped by just 1.8% as compared to July 2020.
According to the data, water use across much of Southern California dropped by just 0.1 percent overall, and rose by 0.7 percent in Los Angeles and 1.3 percent in San Diego. By contrast, the northern communities took the call for reductions more seriously, with the North Coast region dropping by 16.7 percent and the Bay Area dropping by 8.4 percent.
Mendocino and Sonoma counties are two areas that met the governor’s conservation target. They were in the heart of the region classified as experiencing an “exceptional drought” when the governor called for reductions. Extreme levels of drought have expanded since then, reaching well into the Midwest and northern plains states.
Diminished snowpack and a persistent lack of significant precipitation is wreaking havoc on watersheds throughout the West. Climate change is a driver in making the drought more intense and, likely, longer lasting. Southern Californians would be wise to buckle down and learn how to save lots of water – 15 percent of it, in fact.