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Santa Monica Squeaks by Water Savings Goal in August

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Hector Gonzalez
Special to The Lookout

October 5, 2015 -- During the hottest August on record, Santa Monica residents still managed to save enough water to barely meet a conservation goal, but so did residents statewide, according to figures for the month.

Residents collectively used 20.7 percent less water this past August than they consumed in August 2013, the benchmark used for water use. The saving rate was not as good as in July, when residents cut back by 22 percent, but it still fell within the 20 percent conservation goal set by the state, figures from the state Water Resources Control Board showed.

From June through August, residents cumulatively saved 22.5 percent less compared to the same period in 2013, the numbers showed.

Californians cumulatively reduced their water use by nearly 27 percent in August, but that was down from the 31.4 percent savings residents averaged statewide in July, said Water Board spokesman George Kostyrko.

Statewide, the average water use for August was 102 residential gallons per capita per day (R-GPCD), up slightly from the July R-GPCD of 98 gallons, Kostyrko said.

“While August’s conservation was good, July was better,” he said.

Record-breaking rain that hit parts of the state in July and excessive heat that baked California in August might account for the jump in water use, Kostyrko said.

August also was the hottest globally averaged August recorded since forecasters began keeping track in 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As of last week, more than 46 percent of the state was under “exceptional drought” conditions, the severest level, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's drought monitor. Sixty cities and counties, Native American tribal governments and special districts have declared local emergencies, according to the state Office of Emergency Services.

With dry conditions expected to continue “residential water users are urged to keep up their efforts to conserve to maintain water conservation through the winter,” Kostyrko said.

Recently, the Water Board directed urban water suppliers to switch to fall watering schedules of once a week or less, Kostyrko said.

Overall, however, Californians continue to respond collectively to the call to save, said Kostyrko. August's 27 percent conservation number exceeded the goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown to reduce residential water use across the state by 25 percent from 2013 by this February, he said.

Between June and August this year, residents statewide saved a cumulative 611,566 acre-feet of water, putting the state more than halfway toward its goal to save 1.2 million acre-feet by February, as ordered by Brown, Water Board officials said.

“Millions of Californians stepped up to save water this summer and we must all keep up the good work because no one knows how much longer this historic drought will continue,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the Water Resources Control Board.

“With continued heat, the danger of more wildfires, and no way of knowing when the drought will end, every drop of water that remains in our local reservoirs and aquifers is insurance in case of another dry year or more,” she said.

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