Agriculture · California

Newsom pleaded for water cutbacks amid drought. Californians stopped listening.

California’s drought is worsening yet new figures show that in March, water usage jumped nearly 19% compared with 2020, during one of the driest months on record.

The startling figures come despite pleas from the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, and other authorities who have urged residents to curb their water usages.

They also come the same day that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered residents and businesses to restrict outdoor watering to just two days a week in an effort to conserve.

Newsom last summer asked residents to voluntarily cut water use by 15% compared to 2020. He encouraged people to water their yards less often, run dishwashers less and install more efficient appliances. The state’s conservation rate gradually increased, aided by some intense fall and early winter storms that reduced water demand.

But the first three months of 2022 have been some of the driest ever recorded. Water use increased slightly in January and February before exploding in March when compared to 2020 figures.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.