Lakewood, El Monte Among California’s Best Water Savers In August

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Lakewood was among one of California’s top water-saving cities in August, reducing its water use by a whopping 30 percent in August, and the city of El Monte was not far behind, reducing its water use by 22.9 percent.

The State Water Resources Control Board on Thursday released the statewide conservation figures, which found Californians have surpassed a mandate to save water for a third consecutive month, using nearly 27 percent less in August than the same month in 2013.

Max Gomberg, a senior climate scientist for the board, said the results meet the 25 percent savings goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Overall, the state reported savings of 27 percent in June and 31 percent in July.

The board also released figures for August showing how each community is performing. The mandate by Brown gave each city an individual conservation target based on water use in the same month of 2013, the year before Brown declared a drought emergency.

Lakewood’s August numbers bring the city’s cumulative savings to 29 percent, well over its 20 percent conservation standard. El Monte’s cumulative savings are up to 15.9 percent, twice its 8 percent conservation standard.

Officials in Los Angeles said the city saw savings of 17 percent in August, beating its target of 16 percent. Fresno reported a 28 percent drop, hitting its requirement. Water use in San Diego was 21 percent lower, exceeding its mandated cutback of 16 percent.

In Long Beach, residents cut their water use by 17.8 percent in August, ahead of the 16 percent target imposed by the state. Santa Ana cut use by 19.7 percent, ahead of its 12 percent target, and Santa Monica reduce by 20.7 percent, roughly on par with its 20 percent target.

Anaheim residents cut use by 24.5 percent, Burbank by 27.5 percent, Valencia by 35.9 percent, Orange by 31.3 percent, Fountain Valley by 22.1 percent, Anaheim by 24.5 percent and Yorba Linda by 41.4 percent.

Cities that do not meet water-conservation goals can face stiff financial penalties. Beverly Hills residents cut use by 17.5 percent, well short of the 32 percent mandate set by the state. In La Verne, residents cut by 28.7 percent, but the state mandate for that city is 32 percent. Glendora, Arcadia, Tustin, Pasadena, San Juan Capistrano, Brea and Norwalk were among the cities that fell short of their conservation targets.

State officials said they are working with cities and water districts that have failed to meet targeted cuts.

Gomberg said climate change — signaled by warmer temperatures, a low snowpack and intense wildfires — has made water conservation an ongoing effort.

“Climate change is not something that’s happening in the future,” Gomberg said. “California is already dealing with the impacts.”

Gomberg also warned that Californians can’t allow themselves to be distracted by the hype of a coming El Niño weather pattern.

He said an El Niño doesn’t guarantee a wet winter for California and urged people to keep saving water.

“We need to continue the conservation efforts,” he said. “People need to keep on doing what they’ve been doing.”

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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