Overall water use is climbing in Southern California as that part of the state plunges back into drought, driving state and regional water managers as they consider permanently reinstating some watering bans and conservation programs.
Gov. Jerry Brown lifted California's drought emergency status a year ago, after a wet winter that snapped a historic 2013-2017 drought, and the state ended his 25 percent mandatory conservation order.
Water use has been moving steadily upward since then, especially in a six-county area of Southern California that includes the biggest chunk of the state's nearly 40 million people. Water use in the region was up 3 percent in December, the last month for which figures are available, compared to the same month in 2013 before mandatory conservation.