Go Back

Top Story: California Meets Governor’s Conservation Mandate for Seventh Straight Month

State Keeps Meeting Cumulative Goal; As Monthly Conservation Rate Drops, Residential Water Users Urged to Continue Saving Water

Contact: George Kostyrko

For Immediate Release
Feb. 2, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Californians have reduced water use by 25.5 percent since June, continuing to meet Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s 25 percent mandate despite a decline in the statewide water-savings rate during the last three months of 2015.

In December, the statewide conservation rate was 18.3 percent, down from 20.4 percent in November, compared to the same months in 2013. A drop in the water conservation rate was expected during the cooler fall and winter months, when Californians use less water and there is less opportunity to save on outdoor water use compared with the hot summer months. Indeed, average statewide water use declined from 76 gallons per person per day in November to 67 gallons in December, the second lowest per-person rate since water-use reporting began in June 2014.

Nonetheless, Californians are urged to keep up their efforts to conserve through the winter months. This includes complying with urban water supplier directives to switch to once-a-week watering schedules, and not using outdoor irrigation during and within 48 hours following a rain event.

“While the recent rains and growing snowpack are wonderful to behold, we won’t know until spring what effect it will have on the bottom line for California’s unprecedented drought,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “Until we can tally that ledger, we have to keep conserving water every way we can. Every drop saved today is one that we may be very glad we have tomorrow.”

In November 2015, the Governor issued an Executive Order directing the State Water Board to extend and revise the drought emergency water conservation regulation based on conditions through January. Staff released a draft updated emergency regulation for public comment on January 15th. The State Water Board will consider this extended emergency regulation after 1 p.m. today.

December Conservation Data

  • For June through December, the cumulative statewide reduction was 25.5 percent, compared to the same months in 2013. That equates to almost 1.1 million acre-feet of water saved, putting the state 91 percent of the way to meeting the 1.2 million acre-feet savings goal to be achieved through February 2016.
  • Statewide water savings for December 2015 was 18.3 percent (75,719 acre‑feet or 24.7 billion gallons), a decrease from November 2015’s 20.4 percent savings. See fact sheet here.
  • Contributing to the lower monthly savings, December 2015 saw the lowest level of water provider compliance to date with 60 percent of suppliers meeting their conservation standards.
  • Statewide average water use for December 2015 was 67 residential gallons per capita per day (R-GPCD), down from 76 gallons per person per day in November. This is the second-lowest per-person rate observed since the State Water Board began requiring reporting due to the drought.

Background In his April 1, 2015 Executive Order, Gov. Brown mandated a 25 percent water use reduction for cities and towns across California. In May 2015, the State Water Board adopted an emergency regulation requiring an immediate 25 percent reduction in overall potable urban water use. The regulation uses a sliding scale for setting conservation standards, so that communities that have already reduced their R-GPCD through past conservation will have lower mandates than those that have not made such gains since the last major drought.

The State Water Board tracks water conservation for each of the state’s larger urban water suppliers (those with more than 3,000 connections) on a monthly basis, but compliance with individual water supplier conservation requirements and the statewide 25 percent mandate is based on cumulative savings. Cumulative tracking means that conservation savings will be added together from one month to the next and compared to the amount of water used during the same months in 2013.

California has been dealing with the effects of an unprecedented drought. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com. In addition to many effective local programs, state-funded turf removal and toilet replacement rebates are also available. Information and rebate applications can be found at: www.saveourwaterrebates.com/.

Water Conservation Quick Links

Factsheet: December by the Numbers

June 2014-December 2015 Data Set

Cumulative Savings and Conservation Compliance for December

December Savings by Region

Supplier Enforcement Statistics

Go Back