March 12 2018 06:31 AM

Once drought emergency called off, residents returned to old habits, analysis says.

According to a report in the Mercury News, despite concerns that drought conditions may be returning, the California residents are dropping conservation habits and increasing water use.

An analysis of the state’s water records by the newspaper showed that California’s urban residents used 13.7 percent less water last year in the first eight months after Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to the drought emergency than they used in the same eight-month period in 2013. But in each of those eight months last year, the water savings dropped from 20 percent in May to just 2.8 percent in December.

Of course some things stuck, like the low-flush toilets that were installed or those who replaced lawns with water-efficient landscaping, the article notes, but people often return to their old ways once the threat is gone and forgotten and restrictions dropped. Coupled with the hot, very dry weather, particularly in Southern California, in the winter, water usage has sped up.

Meanwhile, the Sierra snow pack levels last week were just 22 percent of its historic average, notes the article. The news organization’s analysis shows that cities on the Central Coast saved the most water, 20.5 percent, in the May-December 2017 period, when compared with May-December 2013. Cities around the Bay Area saved 15.5 percent, and cities on in the South Coast region, mostly Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, saved the least, 11.7 percent.