Environment

Where is California water use decreasing?

Produced by Molly Peterson, Aaron Mendelson & Chris Keller | Updated April 7, 2015

More evidence that California needs to do more to cut water use – the state water board reported today that Californians in February conserved the smallest amount of seasonal water supplies since the state began compiling monthly statistics on water use last June. The meager cuts were fueled largely by increased water use in Southern California.

Statewide in February, Californians cut water use by just 2.8 percent compared to the same month a year ago. But in the hydrological regions that cover most of Southern California – an area of 8.7 million people — water use actually rose. The South Coast region, which runs along the coast from Ventura to San Diego County, saw increased water use of more than 2 percent. And water consumption in the Colorado River region, which mostly covers San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial counties, inched up half a percent.

Across much of the state — and particularly in Southern California — February saw significantly warmer temperatures and less rain than average, prompting urban water users to turn on their sprinklers to keep lawns green.

At the same time, average water use rose from levels in January, which was also unusually hot and dry. February water use was 77 gallons per person per day compared to 73 gallons the month before.

The findings were reported during a meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board, which is discussing how to enforce mandatory reductions in water use ordered last week by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Choose a water supplier

About the data: These charts show urban water suppliers in Southern California that saw daily water use per resident rise and fall by the most and least. They cover the most recent reporting period — February 2015 — and are compared to the baseline measure from February 2013. Since the gallons of water used per person per day measurement does not take into account rainfall, temperature, humidity and population density, the State Water Resources Control Board discourages comparisons between water suppliers.

South Coast Decreased use

February 2015 to February 2013

  1. City Of Fountain Valley

    -29.25%
  2. City Of Newport Beach

    -23.76%
  3. City Of Big Bear Lake Dept Of Water Power

    -19.73%
  4. City Of South Gate

    -18.00%
  5. City Of Vernon

    -15.81%
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