California water use – still down

California’s water use: down.

While it’s true that urban water use is not as low as it was at the height of the latest drought in 2015, it is still much lower than in 2013, before Californians were asked to significantly limit their water use. This winter, some media stories highlighted unfavorable month-to-month comparisons—for example, water use in December 2017 was about the same as in December 2013. But what’s lost in this message is that water use in California is normally much lower in winter months, when very little is going to outdoor landscaping. When we smooth out the seasonal differences, water use in 2017 was roughly 13% lower than in 2013—and it has stayed down across all regions of the state (see figure).

That’s Ellen Hanak and David Mitchell at PPIC.