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California Cut Water Use by 31 Percent in July Amid Drought

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FRESNO (AP) —

State officials say California cities cut their water use by a combined 31 percent in July, exceeding Gov. Jerry Brown’s statewide mandate to conserve.

The state’s Water Resources Control Board released the most recent figures Thursday. The governor has ordered cities to use 25 percent less as California endures a fourth year of drought.

In June, the state conserved by 27 percent compared with 2013, the year before Brown declared a drought emergency.

State water board chairwoman Felicia Marcus says the strong conservation figures show Californians understand the need to use less water.

She says regulators are now turning their attention to individual communities that aren’t meeting their mandated targets.

Marcus says they’re visiting each underperforming community to understand the problem; fines are also an option.