Officials: CA ‘Dismal’ Reduction Rate in Water Usage

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The State Water Resources Control Board announced Tuesday that water consumption by California cities and towns in February was reduced by only 2.8 percent.

The “dismal” conversion rate is the lowest monthly figure since the board started tracking the data in July 2014.

It was also recently announced by Governor Jerry Brown that Californians will have to reduce their water use by 25 percent.

“(The) announced February results are very disturbing and provides even more support for the Governor’s call for an immediate 25 percent mandatory reduction in urban water use statewide,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus.

According to state data, Newport Beach has saved about seven percent from June 2014 to February 2015 compared to the same period the previous year. The September 2014  Residential Gallons Per Capita Day is listed at 206.6. This places the city in tier four, requiring a 35 percent reduction (any water supplier with a R-GPCD over 165 will have to cut back by 35 percent).

The state has issued mandatory water use restrictions, which the city enforces. Newport Beach adopted new restrictions in September: Lawns and landscaping can only be irrigated a maximum of four days per week from April through October and two days per week from November through March; Each customer’s water use should not exceed 100 percent of the base amount; Water leaks must be repaired within 72 hours; Ornamental lakes, ponds or fountains can only be filled once per week; Swimming pools/spas can only be filled or re-filled one foot per week.

“I know many communities in the state stepped up since last summer and dramatically conserved water,” Marcus said. “But not enough communities in the state have saved enough water.”

According to the State Water Board, what’s prohibited for everyone: Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways; Runoff when irrigating with potable water; Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars; Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water; and Using outdoor irrigation during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation.

Marcus suggested that communities restrict their outdoor irrigation to “the bare minimum.”

“If we dramatically stop watering out-of-doors, we should be able to reduce water use by 25 percent or more in the next several months since an average of 50 percent of urban water use is used outdoors,” she noted.

What’s required for business: Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers on request; and Hotels and motels must provide guests with the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily

She called for Californians to “step up” and start reductions immediately.

Newport Beach is also participating in the 4th Annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, a national competition between U.S. cities to see who can be the most water wise. Residents are encouraged to take the Wyland Foundation’s My Water Pledge.

Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category win.

As of Thursday morning, Newport Beach currently ranks 23rd for cities in the 30,000-99,999 population category.

“Residents are challenged to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their city through a series of informative, easy-to-use online pledges,” according to the website.

Participants in the winning cities are eligible to win hundreds of prizes, including a 2015 Toyota Prius V, $1,000 home improvement shopping spree, home irrigation kits, home improvement store gift cards, and more. There are daily prize drawings as well.

The campaign ends April 30

For more information, visit,, and

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