Melody Gutierrez
Updated 5:26 pm, Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sacramento — Drought-stricken California reduced its water use by 7.5 percent in July, a year-over-year savings of 17 billion gallons, according to data released Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The conservation comes amid mandatory outdoor watering restriction and up to $500 a day fines on water wasters. However, the cutbacks fall short of the 20 percent goal the state set in January.

Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said she was encouraged that the state is headed in the right direction. But, she cautioned that more is needed, particularly with projections of a dry fall and winter.

“More would be better,” Marcus said.

The Sacramento region led with a 19.5 percent reduction in water use from July 2014 to July 2013, while the Bay Area, which already has low per capita water usage, cut back by 13 percent.

In June, water use statewide was down 4.4 percent, or 9 billion gallons, when compared to the previous year.

The survey was part of a mandatory data collection approved by the state water board of urban water suppliers. While 87 percent of suppliers covering 33 million people submitted their data, the board said it is contacting the 50 agencies that did not respond.

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