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The region’s water use was down 9 percent in the first six months of the year, the San Diego County Water Authority reports.

That includes a 24 percent drop region-wide in June.

The authority, the region’s water wholesaler, says cooler weather and water conservation advertising both played a role. Cooler weather alone, said authority spokesman John Liarakos, wouldn’t completely account for such a decrease.

“A 24 percent drop in water use is significant,” he said. “The message has gotten out in a much stronger way.”

A key figure to track will be how that statistic changes after July 1. That’s when mandatory cutbacks went into effect throughout Southern California.

The water authority and cities throughout the region that buy water from it must deliver an 8 percent drop compared to their 2004-2006 consumption — or else face higher rates for each acre-foot of water they buy that exceeds that three-year average. (An acre-foot is 325,861 gallons, enough to supply two households for a year.)

ROB DAVIS

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