Saturday, 25 May, 2024

Californians use more water as drought worsens in US state



Water usage jumped nearly 19% in March, which was one of the driest months on record, officials say, as residents defy pleas for conservation.

Water use in California increased slightly in January and February before exploding in March when compared to 2020 figures.
Water use in California increased slightly in January and February before exploding in March when compared to 2020 figures. (AP)

California's drought is worsening and yet new figures show last March had the highest water use for that month since 2015 while residents defied pleas for conservation from Governor Gavin Newsom and other authorities, state officials have announced.

Water usage jumped nearly 19 percent in March, which was one of the driest months on record.

Newsom last summer asked residents to voluntarily cut water use by 15 percent. He encouraged people to water their yards less often, run dishwashers less and install more efficient appliances.

The state's conservation rate gradually increased, aided by some intense fall and early winter storms that reduced water demand. But the first three months of 2022 have been some of the driest ever recorded.

Water use increased slightly in January and February before exploding in March when compared to 2020figures.

READ MORE:Firefighters in New Mexico, Arizona scramble to corral wildfires

'Reservoirs below average'

Since July, the state has cut its overall water use by just 3.7 percent.

Newsom responded to the news by pledging to spend an extra $26 million on water conservation programmes, in addition to the $190 million he proposed in January.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced residents and businesses would have to reduce outdoor landscape watering from three days per week to two. Irrigation makes up 35 percent of the city's water use.

A series of April storms have improved things slightly since March. Still, most of the state's reservoirs are well below their historic averages.

Those reservoirs rely on melting snow to fill up for the dry summer months but the statewide snowpack was at just 27 percent of its historic average as of April 1.

READ MORE:US Southwest region hit by widespread wildfires

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