Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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Officials: Complacency drives hike in water use

Updated Wednesday, July 16, 2014 | 2:14 p.m.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Officials say water usage increased 8 percent in May in a coastal area of Southern California partially because previous conservation efforts spared residents from seeing the impact of the most severe drought in the state in four decades.

Thinking plenty of water was available at the start of summer, residents doused their lawns and filled their pools while farmers fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres.

The area was cited along with the northeast corner of the state in a study released Tuesday as areas that saw significant increases in water use, even as Gov. Jerry Brown called for Californians to cut use by 20 percent.

Officials say those areas are not seeing the effects of the state's worst drought in a generation, partly because of efforts made by districts to conserve and build water storage in recent decades.