A coyote crosses part of the dried up bed of Folsom Lake near Folsom, Calif. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

The California State Water Resources Control Board announced Tuesday water consumption in August fell 11.5 percent when compared with the same time period last year, the largest monthly decline in water use this year.

“The trend is terrific,” said Felicia Marcus, water board chair in a statement. “Every gallon saved today postpones the need for more drastic, difficult and expensive action should the drought continue into next year.”

The 11.5 percent decline equals about 27 billion gallons of water saved. In July, the board reported a 7.5 percent decline, and in June, a 4 percent decline.

The state has taken steps to encourage water conservation, including passing a law prohibiting homeowner’s associations from requiring homeowners to keep their lawns green, and allowing fines for residents for wasting water.

“Many more California communities are taking the drought seriously and making water conservation a priority, and residents are responding,” Marcus said.