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California's water use jumps 19% in March, the highest since 2015

Despite the increase, San Diego County Water Authority said, "we're in a really great place."

SAN DIEGO — A recent report shows Californians aren't doing enough to conserve water, despite Governor Gavin Newsom's request to reduce use by 15%. Newsom made that request in July of 2021.

Fast forward to now, and according to the State Water Resources Control Board, total water usage statewide decreased by just 3.7% between July and March compared to the same period two years ago.

In March alone, usage was at its highest since 2015, jumping 19% compared to two years ago.

In the South Coast region, which includes San Diego, it increased by 27%.

Despite those numbers, the San Diego County Water Authority said the situation here isn't dire.

"We're in a really great place. We have a hundred percent of our water supplies for this year, next year and really the foreseeable future," said Efren Lopez with the Water Authority.

Lopez says water conservation has played a critical role in San Diego since the 90's.

"In San Diego County, we've reduced water use by nearly 50% from the last 30 years," said Lopez.

Lopez credits not only individual conservation efforts like drought resistant landscaping, but also investments in infrastructure that have allowed San Diego to have access to more water compared to other areas.

"That includes the desal plant in Carlsbad. It's the largest desal plant in the United States. We also raised the San Vicente dam to store more water in case of emergencies," said Lopez.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced people there will only be allowed to water their yards twice a week starting June 1, as the region deals with reduced supplies from the California State Water Project, which San Diego doesn't rely on.

Lopez says those restrictions are unlikely here.

Still, he suggests we all continue to do our part, saying the Water Authority does offer landscape classes and rebate programs as incentives that could not only help you save water, but money as well.

"That includes washing machines, toilets, irrigation controllers, turf replacement.  The regional rebate is between $2 and $3 per square foot removed and replaced with drought tolerant plants."

For more on the programs and rebates offered by the San Diego County Water Authority, click here.

Watch Related: Millions must cut water use in drought-stricken California (Apr 27, 2022)