This just in … State’s Conservation Falls Slightly, But Cumulative Water Savings Continue to Meet Governor’s Mandate

Monthly Conservation average decreases for second month in a row; Per Person water use declines statewide with lowest average ever

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

SWRCB logo water boardsCalifornians have reduced water use by 26.3 percent in the six months since emergency conservation regulations took effect in June, continuing to meet Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s 25 percent mandate despite a decline in the statewide water-savings rate for the last two months.

In November, when outdoor water use dramatically drops, the statewide conservation rate was 20.3 percent, down from 22.3 percent in October. In contrast, average statewide water use declined from 87 gallons per person per day in October to 75 in November – the lowest observed since the Water Board’s emergency regulation went into effect.

“We expected the percentage drop in the cooler fall and winter months when we use less water in general so we are still on track,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “The fact that per person water use dropped to 75 gallons per person per day on average is proof that Californians are clearly thinking twice before turning on the tap. As welcome as recent rain and snow are, we’ve been in such a deep drought that we won’t know until spring whether we can let up on conservation.”

In November 2015, the Governor issued an additional Executive Order directing the State Water Board to extend and revise the emergency water conservation regulations based on conditions through January. Out for public review is a staff-proposed framework for the next iteration of the drought emergency water conservation regulation, which is intended to replace the current regulations, set to expire in the middle of next month. Following public review of the framework, staff will release a draft updated emergency regulation for public comment in mid-January. State Water Board consideration of an extended emergency regulation is anticipated Feb. 2.

Small Water Supplier Reporting Status

Small water suppliers (those with 3,000 or fewer customers) were required to report water use by Dec. 15, and to date about half of these small water suppliers have submitted reports. Of those reporting, 1,232 small water suppliers (80 percent) are in compliance with the emergency regulation; 209 suppliers (13 percent) are not in compliance; and compliance for 109 suppliers (7 percent) could not be assessed. The full report of information submitted by small water suppliers is available here.

November Conservation Data

  • For June through November, the cumulative statewide reduction was 26.3 percent, compared with the same months in 2013. That equates to over 1 million  acre-feet, putting the state more than 80 percent of the way to meeting the 1.2 million acre-feet savings goal to be achieved by February 2016.
  • Statewide water savings for November 2015 was 20.3 percent (94,236 acre feet or 30.7 billion gallons), a decrease from October 2015’s 22.3 percent savings. See fact sheet here.
  • Statewide average R-GPCD for November 2015 was 75 gallons, a significant decrease from the 87 residential gallons per capita per day reported for October.

Conservation Must Continue Through Winter

Depsite recent rain and snow, most of California is still experiencing severe drought. Residential water users are urged to keep up their efforts to conserve through the winter months. That includes complying with urban water supplier directives to switch to watering schedules of once a week as well as a prohibition against watering during a rain event and 48 hours directly following a rain event.


In his April 1, 2015 Executive Order, Gov. Brown mandated a 25 percent water use reduction for cities and towns across California. In May 2015, the State Water Board adopted an emergency regulation requiring an immediate 25 percent reduction in overall potable urban water use. The regulation uses a sliding scale for setting conservation standards, so that communities that have already reduced their R-GPCD through past conservation will have lower mandates than those that have not made such gains since the last major drought.

The State Water Board tracks water conservation for each of the state’s urban water suppliers (those with more than 3,000 customers) on a monthly basis, but compliance with individual water supplier conservation requirements and the statewide 25 percent mandate is based on cumulative savings. Cumulative tracking means that conservation savings will be added together from one month to the next and compared to the amount of water used during the same months in 2013.

California has been dealing with the effects of an unprecedented drought. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at In addition to many effective local programs, state-funded turf removal and toilet replacement rebates are also now available. Information and rebate applications can be found at:

Water Conservation Quick Links

Factsheet: November by the Numbers

June 2014-November 2015 data set

Cumulative Savings and Conservation Compliance for November

November Savings by Region

Supplier Enforcement Statistics

Small Supplier June 2015-November 2015 data set



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