Environment & Science

Drought: June report cards anticipated for urban water use; are we conserving enough?

Regulators have given urban water suppliers nine months to cut their use between 4% and 36%. June's the first month that counts toward those targets, and the numbers are set to come out Thursday.
Regulators have given urban water suppliers nine months to cut their use between 4% and 36%. June's the first month that counts toward those targets, and the numbers are set to come out Thursday.
Photo by Vinoth Chandar via Flickr Creative Commons

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On Thursday, state water regulators will make public how much water city dwellers used in June, offering the first glimpse about how Californians are responding to the state’s mandate to cut water use by a quarter from last year, or face penalties.

The State Water Resources Control Board has given cities nine months, starting in June, to cut water use to assigned reduction targets. Based on conservation efforts and prior use, thirsty cities must cut their use as much as 36 percent, while cities who use less water must reduce by 4 percent.

The state has been tracking water use in cities since last summer, but the June use numbers are the first ones that will count toward those targets.

INTERACTIVE: Where is California water use decreasing? 

Residential water use dropped 29 percent in May, as compared to the same month two years earlier. But even as officials cheered those results, they warned that wet May weather may have made it easier for users to turn off sprinklers more often. June might pose a more difficult test. 

Here’s what to watch for in June's numbers: