Drought and Water Use Regulations Continue

As California is now in its fifth year of drought, conserving water has continued to be increasingly important. Across the state, significant efforts in saving water have been achieved. Recently, the state has been fortunate enough to receive much needed precipitation, which occurred more in Northern California. With major reservoirs now at full capacity, this will help to provide opportunities for water agencies to manage storage supplies for future use. Due to the improved conditions, a set of changes to the Emergency Water Conservation Regulations were adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in May.

As a result of these recent changes, both wholesale and retail water agencies will self-certify a set of conservation targets based on local supply and anticipated water usage for the next three years. This process will identify regional supply sources that include imported water, recycled water, groundwater and stormwater. New elements of the regulation, which became effective June 2016 and will run through January 2017, will require retail water agencies to continue reporting conservation results to the SWRCB.

Since June 2015, several larger retail water suppliers within Central Basin’s service area were required to provide monthly conservation reports to the SWRCB. Smaller retail agencies were also required to provide conservation reports but less frequently. Within the District's service area, mandatory targets were between 8% and 28%, with an average conservation standard for the service area of 12.6%. Since June 2015, cumulative water savings consistently exceeded our standard target.

Although there is improvement with respect to statewide storage, California is still under drought conditions and it’s important for us to refer to local water-use ordinances that will remain in effect, which will help to continue successful conservation results. Along with new elements under the regulation, Governor Brown also issued an additional executive order in May to establish long-term conservation measures that include prohibiting water used for hosing off sidewalks, driveways, washing automobiles with hoses not equipped with a shut-off nozzle, and watering lawns excessively to cause runoff onto sidewalks and streets. These new permanent actions will be incorporated into the California Water Action Plan, as part of Making Conservation a Way of Life.