Good Job Saving Water, California! Now Don’t Get Cocky.

Despite the summer heat, urban water use fell by 27 percent in June.

<a href="http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/thumbs-up-in-death-valley-national-park-17716036?st=1f850ec">rafalkrakow</a>/iStock

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California’s State Water Board announced some good news today: As the state’s historic drought continues through its fifth hot summer, conservation efforts resulted in a reduction of urban water use of more than 59 billion gallons—six times the amount conserved during the same time last year—during the hottest June on record.

These are the first monthly water conservation numbers to be released since Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order calling for emergency regulations and a 25 percent reduction in urban water use across the state. The 27 percent saved in June exceeded his mandate, and Water Board officials say the state is now on track to meet its savings goal of 391 trillion gallons by February 2016. Officials are hopeful that they can maintain this conservation momentum in July and August, when water use tends to be highest, to offset the smaller savings usually seen in the autumn and winter months.

Water Board officials attribute the success to efforts by most of the state’s 409 water districts, the bodies that are in charge of allocating water to homes, businesses, farms, and other users. While 65 percent of water districts met conservation targets, the Water Board announced that it is starting to crack down on those that fell short.

During a press conference, officials revealed plans to help districts cut back even further. Soon, they will require water districts to increase outreach and enforcement at local levels, reduce the number of days a week outdoor irrigation is allowed, increase audits for large properties, and enhance programs that provide rebates and incentives for conservation.

The worst offenders—16 districts that were more than 15 percent behind on savings—could soon face fines between $500 and $10,000 a day, if they don’t follow the Board’s orders to reduce water use.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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