A year ago, Governor Jerry Brown lifted California’s drought emergency status after a wet winter that ended a historic 2013-2017 drought, and the state eventually ended his 25 percent mandatory conservation order. Now, as the state plunges back into a drought, the overall water use has been climbing in Southern California, which has state and regional water managers considering permanently reinstating some watering bans and conservation programs. Water use in Southern California increased 3 percent in December, compared to the same month in 2013 before mandatory conservation. California is the nation’s top state economy and agricultural producer, but it depends on several things to quench the thirst of the parts of the state that are much drier. The state relies on 700 miles of canals and pipelines and a network of dams, reservoirs and pumps to send water from the wetter Northern California to the Silicon Valley, the Central Valley and Southern California.

Apparently, many of the greatest offenders that are using too much water are from well-off communities that are more worried about keeping their lawns alive than conserving water. According to the state water board, the average residential user in one Malibu water district used 255 gallons a day, which is three times the U.S. average of 83 gallons per person per day. Residents of lower-income communities, who usually have less lawn, contribute a lot when it comes to water conservation. For example, residents of East Los Angeles used an average of 42 gallons a day and people in Huntington Park used just 34 gallons a day, according to water officials. We will have to wait and see if some bans on water use that were imposed during the drought state of emergency will be brought back to try and curb people’s water usage.

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