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SoCal Is Sabotaging California's Water Conservation Goals

The state has fallen short of a 25 percent conservation goal, and South Coast water districts aren't helping

The results are in and California has failed to meet the water conservation target ordered last year by Governor Jerry Brown. To be fair though, the state did come pretty close. A new report from the State Water Resources Control Board reveals that, between July and February, California managed to conserve 23.9 percent of the water used over the same period in 2013. This puts the state just a little shy of the 25 percent goal set by the governor.

Not very surprisingly, the primary saboteur of the savings plan appears to be the Southland. Perhaps envious of all the rainwater that El Niño has brought to other parts of the state, SoCal residents and businesses only managed to conserve 6.9 percent of water used over the same period two years ago. The South Coast also had the state's lowest savings percentage in July, as well as the second lowest in November, August, and June.

Southern California is home to some of California's most wasteful water districts. As the LA Times reports, four water suppliers in the state have been fined for repeatedly falling short of savings goals—two of the four offenders (Redlands and usual suspect Beverly Hills) are part of the South Coast Region, and the other two districts are nearby Indio and Coachella Valley.

Thanks to some first-rate drought shaming efforts, though, Beverly Hills was able to (sort of) get its act together in February--saving 16 percent more than in 2013 and coming in ahead of the regional average. Redlands, on the other hand, only managed a 4 percent savings.

The worst offender for the month was the Rainbow Municipal Water District, located in San Diego County. With a 36 percent savings goal, this district somehow managed to use nearly 40 percent more water than it had in 2013. In all, nine of the 10 most wasteful districts in February could be found in the South Coast region. Even more troubling, more than 100 water suppliers in the region did not meet their nine-month conservation goals.