The latest figures from the California drought are in — and throughout the month of May, California residents successfully cut their water consumption by an incredible 29%, officials with the State Water Resources Control Board announced.
According to the LA Times, the news offers hope that the state’s residents may be able to meet the unprecedented conservation requirements imposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in response to the drought crisis.
This reduction in residential water use also suggests the state’s aggressive campaign to encourage lifestyle changes — such as taking shorter showers, replacing grass with drought-tolerant plants and investing in water-efficient appliances — is finally starting to see success.
“My first response is almost disbelief,” Mark Gold, of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, said. “These results are beyond encouraging; they’re heartening. They make you realize that as a whole, people in urban areas are making the sacrifices necessary to get through this unprecedented drought.”
The State Water Resources Control Board found that urban residents cut their water consumption by 28.9% in May, a significant improvement over April’s 13.6% reduction. In California’s first-ever mandatory water rationing, Gov. Brown is requiring all urban areas to cut water use by 25%.
The news arrives at the start of California’s peak lawn-watering season; during the summer months, lawn irrigation makes up a stunning 80% of residential water use. In an effort to meet Gov. Brown’s stringent water restrictions, state officials have urged residents to let their lawns fade from green to gold with slogans like “Let it go” and “Turn it off.”
While the typical American family of four consumes approximately 400 gallons of water per day, California residents aren’t afforded the same luxury. The state has been in a state of severe drought for more than four years, with no visible end in sight. As a result, California’s residents can’t afford to be liberal with their water usage.
However, May’s water reduction statistics offer hope that Californians are resilient enough to withstand the challenges of living through a drought.
“The numbers tell us that more Californians are stepping up to help make their communities more water secure, which is welcome news in the face of this dire drought,” Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said in a statement. “That said, we need all Californians to step up — and keep it up — as if we don’t know when it will rain and snow again, because we don’t.”