Individual Water Use Continues To Decline
SACRAMENTO – While much of California has so far endured an exceptionally dry 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board announced that the statewide urban water conservation rate climbed to 22 percent in December, aided by a very wet end of 2014.
Additionally, total water use by individual Californians continued to decline in December, another positive development as the state is threatened by a fourth consecutive dry year. Encouraged by the newest data, State Water Board officials called on Californians to continue conserving as the drought persists.
“Today’s announcement is welcome news that demonstrates the importance of outdoor water savings,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “We have just gone through the driest January on record and it appears we are entering a fourth year of drought, which is awful to contemplate but we must. Conservation is still the smartest and most cost effective way to deal with this difficult drought.”
In the most recent survey of nearly 400 urban water retailers, the amount of water conserved by the state’s large urban water agency customers statewide jumped from 10 percent in November to 22 percent in December, in yearover- year water use comparisons. While wet conditions in December reduced the need for outdoor water use, likely contributing to the dramatic reduction, the results reflect a steady improvement in water conservation among nearly all the state’s hydrologic regions.
“This was a wet December in most of the state, and people got the message not to water on top of the rain – that is good news,” Marcus said. “Our challenge will be to keep outdoor irrigation to a minimum as we move into the warmer spring months.”
The December data represents the highest water savings rate since the state’s largest retail water suppliers began reporting in July, when the State Water Board adopted the Emergency Water Conservation Regulation which requires water suppliers and residents to work together to save waterduring the drought, primarily through reduced outdoor water use.
Since data collection began in July, more than 134 billion gallons of water have been saved compared with last year – enough to supply 1.8 million California residents for a year. For December, nearly all of the state’s hydrologic regions exhibited the best water conservation numbers since data reporting began.
As part of its efforts to build on conservation gains statewide, State Water Board members held a water conservation workshop in Los Angeles in December to consider additional conservation ideas and get input from water districts, environmentalists, and water policy experts. At its next board meeting on Feb. 17, the Board will hear presentations by staff on what ideas were suggested and what actions could be implemented by the State Water Board to sustain and possibly improve statewide water conservation efforts during 2015.
Study links Calif. drought to rising temperatures Higher temperatures played a role in triggering the California drought and significantly increase the likelihood of future droughts, says a study published recently. Lower amounts of rain and snowfall have occurred intermittently in the state over the past 120 years. So have higher-than-average temperatures, said climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, who led the research for Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment.
But the pattern has changed over the past two decades, he said. During that period, 80 percent of the time, temperatures exceeded the average for that 120-year period. That’s come as global warming unfolds, he said. Droughts also have increased.
“When we look at conditions that have created drought ... over California’s history, we find that it’s really the combination of low precipitation and high temperature that creates much greater probability of drought conditions,” Diffenbaugh said.
The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, comes as the Golden State is potentially entering its fourth year of historic drought.
Source: ca.gov & EnergyWire