Water Conservation Standards For California Drought.jpeg
Water Conservation Standards For California Drought.jpeg

November’s statewide water savings reaches 18.8 percent versus October’s 19.6 percent

Multiple days of significant rain may be forecast for the next several days but the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is continuing to stress the need for water conservation throughout the state as many areas of the state, especially in Central and Southern California, are still in the grips of drought conditions. The most recent urban conservation numbers released by the State Water Board on Wednesday posted a savings of 18.8 percent, a decrease from October’s 19.6 percent.

“Californians are continuing to conserve, which is the way it should be, given that we can’t know what the future will bring but we know that we can’t take water for granted anymore,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “It was especially good to see another month of impressive increases in conservation in northern California.

“With climate change already creating water supply challenges that will only get worse and State population projected to exceed 40 million by 2020, we all need to become more efficient with our limited water supplies year in and year out. Increased water efficiency coupled with new storage, recycling, stormwater capture and other measures is going to make us more resilient over the long term,” said Marcus.

November’s 18.8 percent water savings is below the 20.2 percent saved in November 2015 when Gov. Jerry Brown’s state-mandated conservation targets were in effect. The cumulative statewide savings from June 2015 through November 2016 remains at 22.6 percent, compared with the same months in 2013.

Several water suppliers showed November 2016 conservation levels that were higher than November 2015 levels, including suppliers in Goleta Water District, Lemoore, Patterson, Sonoma, and Whittier. Forty-four percent of suppliers achieved water savings above 20 percent in November. These 174 suppliers serve more than 13 million people and include Alameda County Water District, California-American Water Company Sacramento District, Coachella Valley Water District, Contra Costa Water District, the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Modesto, Los Angeles County Public Works Waterworks District 40 (Antelope Valley), Sacramento, San Jose Water Company, and others.

Sustained water conservation is not evident in all areas of the state.  The State Water Board is examining why conservation levels have dropped in these communities and is particularly concerned about suppliers with extremely high levels of per-capita water use. Suppliers with high residential gallons per capita per day (R-GPCD) levels and sharp reductions in conservation include: Los Angeles County Public Works Waterworks District 29 (Malibu), Santa Fe Irrigation District, Valley Water Company and Vaughn Water Company.

The State Water Board will continue to monitor conservation levels and water supply conditions, and will present a staff proposal to extend emergency conservation regulations for public discussion on Jan. 18. The proposal may include a return to state-mandated conservation targets if dry conditions return or if conservation levels slip significantly. The SWRCB won’t be acting on the staff proposals on Jan. 18; staff will be bringing a proposal to the Board for consideration in February after taking into account comments from the Jan. 18 public workshop.

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