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In Drought-ravaged California, Water Use Is Up Dramatically

A small stream runs through the dried, cracked earth of a former wetland near Tulelake, Calif., on June 9, 2021.  Southern California's gigantic water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of requiring some 6 million people to cut their outdoor watering to one day a week as drought continues to plague the state. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard, File)
A small stream runs through the dried, cracked earth of a former wetland near Tulelake, Calif., on June 9, 2021. Southern California's gigantic water supplier has taken the unprecedented step of requiring some 6 million people to cut their outdoor watering to one day a week as drought continues to plague the state. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard, File)
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Sacramento, Calif. (AP) -- California's water use jumped dramatically in March, state officials said Tuesday, as one of the driest stretches on record prompted a wave of homeowners to start watering their lawns earlier than usual in defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom's pleas for conservation amid a severe drought.

Newsom last summer asked residents to voluntarily cut water use by 15% compared to 2020 as climate change intensified a drought that threatened to drain the state's reservoirs to dangerously low levels. Water conservation increased gradually through December, aided by some intense fall and early winter storms that reduced water demand.