U.S. Drought Monitor report for California, 23 February 2016. Graphic: Eric Luebehusen / USDA

SAN FRANCISCO, 25 February 2016 (AP) – Californians are starting to fall behind the state's mandatory 25-percent water conservation target even though the state remains in drought, state officials said Thursday.

As of January, water users in California's cities and towns have managed to use 24.8 percent less water since mandatory conservation began last year, the State Water Resources Control Board said.

That just misses the level Gov. Jerry Brown had ordered in what is now the state's fifth year of drought.

"Our numbers have slipped rather than plummeted," water board chairwoman Felicia Marcus said. "Let's just keep it up" on conservation.

The latest numbers mark the first time since June that urban Californians have missed the overall mandatory water-conservation target.

Despite drought, Californians fall short in water cutbacks

Water officials blamed warmer weather in January for urban users' slipping in conservation efforts, which have included cutting back on watering lawns and stricter enforcement for wasteful users.

For the month of January, the conservation rate was 17.1 percent less when compared to the same period in 2013. That's down from December's savings rate. [more]

Despite drought, Californians fall short in water cutbacks



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