Californians keep water consumption below mandated levels

OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) -- The state of California released the June results of water conservation and Californian's continue to be over achievers, once again exceed the Governor's 25 percent savings mandate.

This time, consumers saved 31 percent with their conservation efforts. In fact, over the last two months, Californians have saved nearly 5 percent more water than the Governor required.

In June, Oakley's Diablo Water District beat the state's overall 31 percent reduction in water use with a 36 percent reduction in compared to June of 2013.

"It's really fantastic that the customers are doing their part to conserve," said Diablo Water District General Manager Mike Yeraka.

That should improve in July because Oakley's Ironhouse Sanitary District started a free recycled water giveaway to customers and commercial firms for lawns, gardens, landscaping and dust reduction.

Since opening in July, more than 6 million gallons have been given away.

"Historically, sanitary districts have been agencies that provide wastewater collection ,treatment and disposal services in an environmentally manner.  Now, we're actually looking at resource recovery, were turning this back and providing it back to the community to use t offset potable water use," said Ironhouse Sanitary District General Manager Chad Davisson.

In just over a month, demand for recycled water from the public became so great that the sanitary district literally had to put in a pipeline in the ground from the recycling station to the public filling station because the tanker trucks they were using simply couldn't keep up.

"And every day it is more and more. We get an increase every day," said Davisson.

August and September, California's hottest, driest months will be an even bigger challenge. 

"We've actually been encouraging customers to go to Ironhouse Sanitary District and use their recycled water," said Yeraka.

"That's when we use the lion's share of water, so that's when we have the greatest chance to save a lot of it," added Felicia Marcus, California's State Water Resources Chairwoman.

If every California water treatment agency were to adopt this model, it would have a profound effect on wasting fully treated drinking water on lawns, gardens, landscaping and dust reduction without any change in lifestyle.

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