Customers cut back by 39%, surpassing goal

May turned out to be a banner month for water conservation in the Palm Springs area, with customers of the Desert Water Agency cutting back by 39 percent and surpassing a state-mandated goal.

During the past year, from June 2015 through May, DWA has reported a cumulative reduction of 26.6 percent in water use as compared to the same months in 2013, which state officials have chosen as a baseline year.

Those cutbacks over the past 12 months have fallen short of the state’s conservation target for the agency, which was initially 36 percent and was later adjusted to 32 percent. Last month’s stellar performance, though, indicates that people have made lasting changes to their habits and have continued to dial back water use even as the state has begun to loosen restrictions.

“During the recession, everyone learned to be a little bit more budget-savvy, and I think the same is true with water,” said Ashley Metzger, DWA’s outreach and conservation manager.

She said relatively mild weather in May probably helped boost conservation by limiting the quantities of water needed to keep yards green. A bigger factor, she said, is that with higher water use during the warm months of the year, it’s easier for customers to save by cutting back “more of that discretionary water use.”

Changes in landscaping have also helped during the past year, as more people have removed lawns and replaced them with desert landscaping.

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