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California’s water use is down, but farmers are wondering if it can be met

California's water use is down, but farmers are wondering if it can be met

More water restrictions likely as California pledges to cut use of Colorado River supply by 25 percent

By Scott Macbrair

The Associated Press

Posted Jul. 10, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.

By Scott Macbrair

July 10, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Department of Water Resources reported Monday that it has used 667.1 million gallons of water in California during the first week of June — about a quarter of what it used last week.

The record was set in May, when the department used 1.076 billion gallons.

The latest data comes despite last week’s announcement that the state has set a target of cutting water use by a 25 percent reduction from the amount used during the period from Jan. 1 through March 31 of this year.

The declaration comes as the state is fighting to find enough water to irrigate the farmland and pastureland that is part of its plan to increase the state’s water supplies.

And while the state has been trying to reduce water use by 25 percent for two years, many farmers are wondering whether the state’s goal can be met, particularly with the drought plaguing the western United States.

State officials acknowledge that water conservation efforts are working, and they have made the state’s goal a public issue, with the California Water Resources Control Board issuing a notice to the public Wednesday setting the 25 percent reduction as a goal for the next five years.

“We are making progress,” said Bill Croyle, water resources director for the Department of Water Resources, an agency within the state Department of Water Resources that oversees many of the state’s water-related programs that draw its revenue from the sale of water. “And we are working as hard as we can. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

Croyle said the state would make available more water from its reservoirs by raising the height of the water walls above them so the water is stored in an amount that can be used for irrigation.

The high walls will be raised about one foot in some places, he said, and the water will be moved to more accessible reservoirs.

Water is still running short,

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