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National

Despite Record Heat, Californians Used Less Water In June

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

For this next story, you can congratulate Renee.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Me?

INSKEEP: Yeah. Yeah, you and millions of other people living in California, which has managed to slash its water consumption. Water use in June went down by even more than the 25 percent the state demanded. Here's Jed Kim of member station KPCC.

JED KIM, BYLINE: Californians already obsess about the weather. The drought's just made it more pronounced. Everyone knows the long scale story, historically little rain for four years. To really understand the significance of June's 27 percent water reduction, you've got to look at the finer scale weather. June was record hot, and still people used less water. That's why state water conservation board chair Felicia Marcus is so excited.

FELICIA MARCUS: The June numbers tell a story of conscious conservation. And that's what we need and what we are applauding today.

KIM: June was good. But it needs to stay good through February. That's how long the mandatory 25 percent cuts are in effect.

TOM WAGONER: I think we'll make it.

KIM: Tom Wagoner is general manager of the Lake Hemet Municipal Water District. It serves an area about two hours east of Los Angeles. Wagoner's optimism is for his own district, which well exceeded its goal. He says they've done it through changing watering schedules, increasing outreach - pretty common methods.

WAGONER: Another big thing, though, is that we did a rate hearing and actually raised our rate.

KIM: Water costs as much as 30 percent more for some residents in that district.

WAGONER: And I know that's curbed consumption just because of the financial side of it.

KIM: State water officials will be visiting districts that missed their marks by the most. They'll see what they might do to get back in line. For NPR News, I'm Jed Kim in Pasadena. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.