- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Californians beat a water-savings target in the final month of mandatory statewide water conservation, reducing their use by more than one-fourth.

Californians in May cut their residential water use by 28 percent, compared to the same month in 2013, the state Water Resources Control Board said Wednesday.

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered mandatory water conservation by cities and towns last year, when California was then in its fourth year of drought.

Roughly 80 percent of the state remains in drought now, although a rainy winter in Northern California has eased the dry spell there.

The 12 months of mandatory water conservation set water-savings targets of between 20- and 25 percent statewide, for residential users.

Californians saved nearly 500 billion gallons in that period, enough to supply 8 million people with water for a year, the water board said.

Starting in June, water districts that can show that they have enough water to get through another three years of drought are being allowed to escape the mandatory conservation orders.

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