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California is beating its water conservation targets

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In this Feb. 4 2014 file photo, a warning buoy sits on the dry, cracked bed of Lake Mendocino near Ukiah, California.Photograph by Rich Pedroncelli — AP

California cities cut their water usage by 27.3% in June compared to two years earlier in spite of record-breaking heat throughout much of the state. The water savings beat the 25% emergency conservation mandate put in place by Governor Jerry Brown and which officially took effect last month.

“Californians understand the severity of the drought and they are taking action,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, which released the numbers. “This report shows that residents knew they had to keep conserving even during the summer heat and they kept the sprinklers off more than they would in a normal year.”

June’s water savings build on an outstanding May when Californians cut their water usage by 29%, the steepest drop since Brown called on residents to help conserve water.

California residents saved 59.4 billion gallons–182,151 acre-feet–in June compared to the same month two years prior, and the efforts put the state on track to achieve the 1.2 million acre-feet savings goal by February 2016.

The top conserving communities that all achieved more than 30% savings in June include the Menlo Park (Bay Area), Antelope Valley (High Desert) and Arvin Community Services District (Tulare Lake Region).

Read More: 6 industries hurt by the California drought.