Officials say California to meet water conservation target

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A California water official said late Wednesday that state residents have met a mandate to save water for a third consecutive month during the ongoing drought.

The state Water Resources Control Board will release statewide conservation figures for August on Thursday. Max Gromberg, a senior climate scientist for the board, said he expects the results to meet the 25 percent savings goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Gromberg did warn that Californians cannot get caught up in the hype surrounding the coming of an El Nino weather pattern that has raised hopes it will break California’s four-year dry spell.

He said an El Nino doesn't guarantee a wet winter for California and urged people to keep saving water.

"We need to continue the conservation efforts," he said. "People need to keep on doing what they've been doing."

The state reported savings of 27 percent in June and 31 percent in July.

The board is also expected to release figures for August showing how each community is performing. The mandate by Brown gave each city an individual conservation target based on water use in the same month of 2013, the year before Brown declared a drought emergency.

Officials in Los Angeles told The Associated Press the city saw savings of 17 percent in August, beating a target set at 16 percent. Fresno reported a 28 percent drop, hitting its goal. Water use in San Diego was 21 percent lower, exceeding its mandates cutback of 16 percent.

State officials said they are working with cities and water districts that have failed to meet targeted cuts.

Gomberg said climate change — signaled by warmer temperatures, a low snowpack and intense wildfires — has made water conservation an ongoing effort.

"Climate change is not something that's happening in the future," Gomberg said. "California is already dealing with the impacts."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.