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Climate and Environment

Californians Haven't Cut Their Water Usage Enough This Year

Water flows down a dam spillway into the San Gabriel River
California, especially SoCal, if not doing enough to cut water usage.
(Daryl Barker
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This summer, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians to cut water usage by 15% because of the drought, but people only reduced their consumption by 1.8% in July compared to last year.

Southern Californians did an especially poor job on this. L.A., Orange and San Diego counties cut use by only 0.1%.

Ben Stapleton of the U.S. Green Building Coalition - L.A. says leaders haven't effectively communicated how dire our water shortage is like they did in the last major drought.

Stapleton added that consumers often don't know much water they're using or know how much it costs to reach them.

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"Our true cost of water is actually much higher than what we pay, but we need to see that kind of move up in order for people to change behavior as well," said Stapleton.

Giving people this information — and policies like mandatory on-site water reuse — would help reduce water consumption.

If the drought keeps up, the state might have to stop providing water to many communities next year.

To answer any questions you may have about how California gets their water, LAist's Sharon McNary put together this guide with responses.

What questions do you have about Southern California?