Here's The IE's Best - And Worst - At Saving Water

May 19, 2016

This photo taken in Redlands last fall during the height of the drought shows sprinklers irrigating during the daytime, indicating that the city had not yet adopted a water conservation ethic. The state Water Resources Control Board warned Redlands more than once that it was not even close to meeting state-mandated water conservation targets.
Credit Ken Vincent for KVCR

Even though the statewide drought has eased  - resulting in the California Water Resources Board's decision yesterday to lift the mandatory water conservation restrictions in place since last year - Californians will still be expected to save water, and local water districts will still be expected to set their own water conservation standards.  That could be a difficult mandate for some Inland Empire-area water districts, based on their past performance during the height of the drought.  The top water wasters in the IE include Yucaipa Valley, which missed its 34% conservation target by 13%, and Norco, which missed its 34% target by approximately 12%

KVCR/UC Riverside Intern Producer Isel Cuapio scoured the water conservation data for the Inland Empire from June 2015 through February 2016, and has this report on the IE's best and worst water-savers, starting with the region's top water wasters.

Here’s looking at you Yucaipa and Norco.

Other cities (that also haven’t met the state mandate include) Redlands, Loma Linda, and Hesperia who missed their targets by 10%.

However, March data shows that cities such as Lake Hemet Municipal Water District, Lake Arrowhead Community Services District, and Crestline Village Water Dist. saved 11 - 14 % more than their targets.

According to Water Boards, California’s cumulative savings from June 2015 through February 2016, totaled to 24%, almost meeting Gov. Jerry Brown’s statewide conservation mandate.

The water conservation data for the month of March shows that Californians have saved a total 35 billion gallons of water.

The high numbers of savings for the month of March exceeded those of February, when the conservation rate dropped from 17% to 12%. This was due to rising temperatures between the months of January and February.

Cities such as Riverside and San Bernardino are particularly experiencing extreme drought at this time.

The overall numbers imply that Californians are indeed prioritizing water conservation efforts.

In order to keep water conservation rates high in the Inland Empire, cities that missed their targets by 13 - 14% will need to make a higher commitment to conserve water.

Gov. Jerry Brown's executive order would require California water agencies to continue water reductions as we are expecting more years of drought ahead of us.

The real test lies in whether or not current water conservation rates can be maintained when the hotter months come as we fast approach summer.

Isel Cuapio, KVCR News.