California residents cut water consumption by 29 percent

California residents cut water consumption by 29 percent
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Residential water use in California fell 28.9 percent in May, the biggest decline since the state’s governor mandated citizens cut their water consumption to weather a severe drought. 

“The numbers tell us that more Californians are stepping up to help make their communities more water secure, which is welcome news in the face of this dire drought,” Felicia Marcus, the chair of California’s State Water Resources Control Board, said in a statement. 

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“That said, we need all Californians to step up — and keep it up — as if we don’t know when it will rain and snow again, because we don’t. If the drought continues beyond this year, we’ll all be glad we did.”

On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) told citizens living in the state’s urban areas to cut their water consumption by 25 percent to preserve the state’s water reserves. Water use fell 13.6 percent that month over April 2013 levels. 

Brown's order, the state projected in April, would save 1.5 million acre-feet of water throughout the year. Officials say the state saved approximately 237.3 billion gallons of water — more than 728,000 acre-feet — between June 2014 and this May.   

The state has taken a handful of regulatory steps to preserve water in the face of a drought that has stretched on for four years. 

Beyond the urban use restrictions, the state has limited the amount of water that can be pumped from rivers and streams by people who hold water rights permits issued since 1903.

Last month, the Obama administration announced a $110 million plan to fight the drought and wildfires in the West. The House is scheduled to consider a Republican bill this month that would require the federal government to pump more water through the state’s Central Valley Project in an effort to alleviate the dearth of water.