Water & Drought

Sacramento region conservation efforts dip slightly in August

A row of homes with drought-parched lawns in the Rosemont area of Sacramento on Aug. 7, 2015. The Regional Water Authority announced Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, that water usage dropped 33.5 percent compared to August 2013, the benchmark year. In July, the region cut water use by 37 percent.
A row of homes with drought-parched lawns in the Rosemont area of Sacramento on Aug. 7, 2015. The Regional Water Authority announced Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, that water usage dropped 33.5 percent compared to August 2013, the benchmark year. In July, the region cut water use by 37 percent. rbenton@sacbee.com

Sacramento-area residents continue to conserve water in response to the state’s epic drought, with August cutbacks registering just slightly lower than the previous two months.

The Regional Water Authority announced Wednesday that water usage dropped 33.5 percent compared with August 2013, the benchmark year. In July, the region cut water use by 37 percent. June usage was 35 percent below 2013 totals.

State-mandated conservation targets for the Sacramento region range from 20 percent to 36 percent.

Amy Talbot, the Regional Water Authority’s water efficiency program manager, urged residents to remain mindful of conservation as temperatures start to cool. Water districts could face fines if they don’t meet the state’s benchmarks.

“It’s difficult to maintain the same level of conservation seen in summer during the typically colder and wetter winter months,” Talbot said in a written statement. “In winter, as sprinklers are turned off, we’ll need to increasingly rely on indoor water conservation actions. These indoor actions are important, but they do not deliver the same amount of savings that come from limiting landscape watering.”

With California in a fourth year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown in April ordered a 25 percent cut in urban water consumption through next February, compared with 2013. The benchmarks vary by region. Sacramento and many other Central Valley cities, where per capita usage is among the highest in the state, face cutbacks of as much as 36 percent. Since June, the region has averaged a 37 percent reduction compared with 2013, Talbot said.

Ryan Sabalow: 916-321-1264, @ryansabalow.

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