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Report: California not meeting goal to overcome drought

Posted at 8:11 AM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 15:38:22-04

(KERO) — A new report says California residents are not meeting the goal to help overcome the current drought.

In July, California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked residents to save 15% of the water they used in 2020.

But according to the state Water Resources Control Board, Californians saved just 1.8%.

Southern California saved less than 1% and the Bay Area saved 8.4%.

Scientists are urging people to watch their water usage.

“If the wet season doesn't produce enough water and we go into next year with these reservoir levels, it could test all these water systems," said Jay Lund, professor of UC's division of agriculture.

He fears if we don't save more now California will be in a worse drought.

“So, some of the water we will save now in September, which isn't a big water using month, could be used for next year.”

Right now Californians are only asked to cut down on water voluntarily.

Dave Owen, a water law professor at UC Hastings says part of the reason the numbers are different statewide is because there is no statewide mandate for people to conserve water.

“There is not a water conservation law that says if in a drought under these conditions you should conserve this much,” said Owen.

He says a mandate from the state is possible and can force people to save water.

Especially if some areas of the state are not saving as much as others.

“And so doing things on a more statewide basis perhaps in collaboration with local government but having a more statewide approach I think could reduce some of the unfairness."

However Owen says doing so would require state politicians to work on it.

If they do so, he hopes it leads to stronger water conservation across the state.