FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Water conservation continues to slip in drought-stricken California after officials lifted mandatory cutbacks, officials said ahead of formally releasing the figures on Wednesday.
The State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento is expected reveal the amount of water Californian’s saved statewide in August.
“We’re concerned that conservation levels are continuing to drop off as we enter a sixth year of exceptional drought,” said Max Gomberg, a senior climate scientist for the water board.
Gomberg declined to release the exact figure ahead of the board’s formal announcement.
Last winter, a near-average amount of rain and snow fell mostly in Northern California, prompting officials to relax conservation efforts by turning over control to local water districts.
Each district is responsible for telling its residents how much – or whether – they should cutback based on an analysis of their projected water supply and demanded for the next three years.
After calling for voluntary cutbacks, Gov. Jerry Brown at the height of drought last year, ordered residents to cutback by 25 percent.
Californians’ water conservation remained steady at 20 percent in July, just one percentage point below June’s savings of 21 percent, officials reported. The figures are compared to the same period in 2013, a year before a drought emergency was declared in the state.
Some communities are doing a good job of conserving, but some aren’t, said Gomberg, adding that that in January regulators will consider returning to state-mandated water restrictions.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.