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California Loses Ground In Drought Water-Saving

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Californians are losing ground on compliance with a state goal to cut water use by 20 percent during the drought, according to statewide water-use figures released Tuesday.

Daily per-capita water-use figures for October from the state Water Resources Control Board show Californians used 6.7 percent less water compared to October of last year. That's short of the 20 percent reduction goal set by the state earlier this year, and worse than Californians' 11.6 percent year-on-year reduction in August and 10.3 percent reduction in September.

Water board staffer Eric Oppenheimer told board members that the latest figures stem from high water use in some Southern California communities.

Southern coastal communities as a whole managed just 1.4 percent water reduction in October, compared to the same period last year. Rainfall in those areas is always short and residents love their green lawns, golf courses and swimming pools.

Northern coastal communities cut water use 22 percent for the same period.

Communities that consumed the most water per person include Golden State Water District in the Southern California city of Cowan Heights. That water district used 520 gallons per person per day on average, compared to, for example, 47 gallons a day in East Los Angeles, according to the state.

California is in its third year of drought.

Water board officials said they're trying to figure out if the usage was caused by a lack of awareness about the drought; not enough enforcement of conservation guidelines; this year's hotter weather; or something else.

Board members threw out ideas ranging from asking the state Transportation Department to post stronger messages about the drought on flashing highway advisory signs, to looking at whether more penalties should be imposed on big water users.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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