SAN FRANCISCO — The Latest on new reports on drought-time water use (all times local):
Californians’ water use kept creeping back up in July after the lifting of mandatory statewide conservation orders for the drought.
The state Water Resources Control Board said Wednesday that California households saved 20 percent on water use in July compared to the benchmark 2013 water-use rates. Water officials say that’s down by just 1 percent from the previous month. But the new water-savings rate is down sharply from July of last year, when Californian households cut their water use by 31 percent.
California is in the fifth year of drought. But state officials began lifting mandatory statewide conservation orders this spring after El Nino brought rain and snow.
Water Resources Control Board chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in a statement Wednesday that officials will keep watching water-use to see if the state needs to readjust water-use standards.
Officials say residents of drought-stricken California kept up water conservation despite long, hot days near the peak of summer.
The State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday will release figures for how much residents and businesses saved in July.
California is in its fifth straight year of drought.
Max Gomberg, the water board’s senior climate scientist, says summer offers the greatest opportunity to cut back on how much people water their yards.
He wouldn’t say how much residents conserved for the month, waiting for the water board’s formal announcement. In June, California cutback water use by more than 21 percent.
A near normal winter in Northern California eased drought. Officials still urge residents to use water sparingly, uncertain of what the coming winter will bring.