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Water consumption rates falling statewide

The Dos Amigos water pumping plant near Fresno
Peter Thoeny
Flickr / Creative Commons
The Dos Amigos water pumping plant near Fresno

On Wednesday, the State Water Resources Control Boardreleased new monthly data that shows Californians cut back on water use by more than 10 percent in July compared to July 2020.

In June, statewide water consumption dropped by 7.4 percent compared to June 2020 and in May it dropped by 3.5 percent.

The new numbers show conservation gains in all 10 of the state's hydrologic regions, with the North Coast leading the way with a 28.5 percent water use reduction for July while the Bay Area reported a 17.3 reduction.

According to the Water Board, 14 counties -- six of them in the Bay Area -- reached or exceeded Gov. Gavin Newsom's call for a 15 percent voluntary reduction.

Sonoma achieved nearly a 34 percent reduction, Marin reported almost 30 percent, Santa Clara hit more than 18 percent, which was nearly matched in Napa and San Mateo counties. Alameda increased water savings by more than 16 percent in July compared to the same month in 2020.

In June, the second round of statewide emergency water use regulations took effect, which, among other things, bans irrigation of decorative grass on commercial, industrial and institutional properties.

They also require all 436 urban water suppliers to implement Stage 2 Water Shortage Contingency Plans.

These plans vary from supplier to supplier but often include things like rebates or other incentives for switching to drought-tolerant landscaping and fines or fees for overconsumption of water.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked has in print, radio, television, and web journalism.