SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In Year 4 of California’s crippling drought, the state announced new numbers showing a steep decline in water conservation in the month of January.
The numbers come more than a year after Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency drought declaration in January 2014, and now the state water board is warning stricter water rules could be on the way.
DATA CENTER: State Water Conservation Statistics June-January
The Sacramento Suburban Water District had a good December, with water usage down 19 percent. But in January, it rose 7 percent.
Customers in the City of Folsom conserved 14 percent in December, but used 7 percent more in January.
And for the Sacramento County Water Agency, water usage went from down 18 percent in December to up 15 percent in January.
“That suggests there’s a heavy impact with weather on water use, and that’s what we expected,” said Amy Talbot with the regional water authority.
Storms soaked the land in December, but January was the driest on record. And so, she says, people turned on their sprinklers. She cautions against reading too much into one month—in Folsom, residents conserved more than 21 percent in 2014, and had one of the highest rates in the state.
“You want more than a month to start to see a trend,” she said. “I’m not concerned right now, but I would be concerned in the long run if the numbers showed that month after month.”
But there is concern at the statewide level. It was last summer when the state water board enacted the strictest rules ever for mandatory cutbacks.
After the January numbers came out showing a water-savings slide, the chair of the board says they are now considering changing those emergency rules from temporary to permanent.