The water system that supplies California’s household, businesses, and industries is vast and complex. Nearly 400 large utilities supply more than 90 percent of the state. Most are public agencies with locally elected governing boards, however there are some privately owned utilities as well. Both large and small face similar water supply and quality challenges.

With the dry spell California has been facing the past year, it is clear to see changes being made to urban water consumption, however the total water use began to flatten in the mid-1990s, based on per-capita use. Cities now consume about 10 percent of California’s available water compared with 40 percent for farming.


Let’s take a look at a few things that have changed in the past few years:

  • Per capita use is declining due to the adoption of low-flow plumbing fixtures and water saving appliances. The average restroom uses a ton of water daily and when regular toilets, urinals and faucets are being substituted by waterfree and water efficient fixtures, major savings become a factor.
  • Outdoor watering also accounts for most of the urban water usage especially in inland areas. Despite that, public utilities have started enforcing watering schedule, more efficient irrigation systems, and replacement of thirsty lawns with more drought-tolerant plants.
  • In January 2014, Governor Jerry Brown called on Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent. With that mandate in state, local government are having to adopt water restrictions – some more than others. We are seeing local utilities unite and try to modify their water consumption patterns.

To help cities get to where they need to be with water savings, utilities have made rebates available for residential and commercial buildings. From landscape to plumbing fixtures, they are offering a multitude of ways for you to help save water!!