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Why California may be setting an example for other water scarce places

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Reservoirs Statewide In California At Record Low L
The San Gabriel River passes over mud in the dry upper reaches of San Gabriel Reservoir in the Angeles National Forest on January 22, 2014 in near Azusa, California. At the time California was experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. The dire situation has spurred conservation efforts all over the state.
File | David McNew | Getty Images

September's water conservation numbers are in for California, and they are remarkably good.

Since June, Californians have collectively cut back on their water usage by 28 percent. Some parts of the state are doing better than others. 

Molly Peterson, a reporter for KPCC in Southern California, joined MPR News with Kerri Miller to discuss what's going on in with water in the Golden State. 

Highlights

How California got here

These conservation mandates started when Governor Jerry Brown ordered urban-dwelling water customers to cut back.  

The governor also gave additional authority to the State Water Board, which began tracking water use by water districts for the first time in the state's history. 

Those districts then set their own goals. "Districts that were particularly thirsty cut back 36 percent," Peterson told Miller. "Some that were thrifty cut back as low as 4 percent" she added.

Taking the long view

62 percent of Californians say this is a long term problem and connect it to climate change