RIVERSIDE, Calif.—The economic downturn has had an unusual consequence for inland Southern California: water consumption has dropped, allowing the region to meet a statewide requirement to use 20 percent less by 2020.

The Western Municipal Water District in Riverside says its daily, per-person use was 260 gallons last year—down 32 percent from the 2007 rate of 383 gallons. The district's 2020 goal is 358 gallons.

But the district's efficiency manager, Tim Barr, tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise (http://bit.ly/18MmHOa) the new numbers are "artificial"—a result of a lack of construction.

He says more conservation work needs to be done because once the economy rebounds the numbers will creep back up.

The savings requirements are part of a 2009 law that set new rules for almost 400 utilities in California.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com


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