The central San Joaquin Valley did a better job conserving water this February than it did in February 2016, according to state data released Tuesday.
The savings came in a month with drenching rains across the region that have helped fill the state’s reservoirs.
The State Water Resources Control Board said 17 of the 19 water agencies in the region that reported data to the state conserved more water in February than they had in February 2016. The comparisons measure savings against what was used in 2013.
Only two – Pinedale County Water District in Fresno, and Visalia (served by California Water Service Company) – did worse. Pinedale’s water conservation was 20.1 percent, versus 26.7 percent in 2016. Visalia saved 19.8 percent versus 22.1 percent in 2016.
Average rainfall in February is 2.03 inches, but this February saw 2.52 inches recorded in Fresno. That followed the third-wettest January on record, with 5.5 inches recorded in Fresno.
Statewide, urban Californians cut consumption 25.1 percent in February, substantially better than the 11.9 percent savings measured in 2016 when state-mandated conservation targets were in place, the water board said.
Mandatory cuts nearing 2 years
The overall savings rate has been 22.5 percent since mandatory conservation took effect in June 2015, even though the state water board significantly relaxed the rules last summer.
One of the wettest winters on record has increased pressure on Gov. Jerry Brown from local officials to declare the drought over. Frank Gehrke, the state Department of Water Resources official who oversees the Sierra Nevada snowpack survey, said last week the governor could make an announcement about the state of the drought this week.
Sacramento Bee Staff contributed to this report.
February water savings
savings vs 2013
savings vs. 2013
2017 vs 2016
Bakman Water Co.
Pinedale Co. Water Dist.
Source: State Water Resources Control Board