Conserving more water

water conservation illustration
Credit: Illustration by Cecily Mireles

Even as the state suffers its second-driest year on record, Californians have not taken it very seriously: The governor requested a voluntary 15% cut in water use in July 2021, but since then  residents have reduced home water use by less than 4%.

During the last drought, Californians on average cut residential summer use by 30% between 2013 and 2016. Per capita water use has increased since 2016, but Californians used 14% less water on average in 2020 compared to 2014.
Without a statewide mandate or standardized water waste rules, California faces a patchwork of local water restrictions, with some areas imposing regulations while others have not.