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May 1, 2018 at 5:00 PM EDT

Cal Water, City of Salinas Encourage Residents and Businesses to Continue Using Water Wisely as Water Awareness Month Begins

SALINAS, Calif. — As Californians begin to observe Water Awareness Month, local water utility California Water Service (Cal Water) and the City of Salinas are encouraging residents and businesses to keep up the excellent conservation habits they practiced during and since the recent historic drought.

Although mandatory water-use reduction requirements were lifted in 2016, customers served by Cal Water's Salinas District still achieved a 18-percent reduction in water use in 2017 over the 2013 baseline. Additionally, prohibited uses of water, or water waste violations, remain in effect for Cal Water customers as the State of California works to establish permanent prohibited water uses.

Cal Water offers rebates and other programs to help its customers further reduce water use. In fact, conservation programs utilized by Salinas District customers in 2017 alone saved 1.4 million gallons of water last year, and will save 14.2 million gallons over their lifetime, according to District Manager Brenda Granillo. To learn more about conservation programs available to residential and commercial Cal Water customers in the Salinas District, customers can visit www.calwater.com/conservation.

"Even though we're not currently in a drought, we live in a traditionally drier climate, so it's important that we make conservation a way of life. When we use less water, we help ensure that there is enough supply for the future and firefighters have the resources they need to protect our community," Granillo said. "As the State continues to develop long-term water-use efficiency requirements and permanent prohibited uses of water, we want to take this opportunity to thank our customers for their efforts, remind them that we have tools to help, and encourage them to keep up the great work."

"I commend Salinas water users for their wonderful conservation habits and urge all of us to maintain this necessary path. Water is our most precious resource, and we all need to remember this and live our lives with this in mind," said Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter.

Cal Water serves about 123,000 people through 28,500 service connections in Salinas and about 2 million people through 482,400 service connections in California. The utility has provided water service in the area since 1962. Additional information may be obtained online at www.calwater.com.