Turlock completes second regulating reservoir

State releases revised draft regulation for budget-based conservation

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) released a revised draft of a proposed regulation that would establish, for the first time, budget-based water conservation targets for the over 400 large water suppliers that supply most Californians with water.

Changes to the regulation include extending timelines for water suppliers to meet efficiency goals, broadening their access to alternative compliance pathways and increasing the overall flexibility for how the proposed regulation can be implemented.

Eric Oppenheimer, executive director for SWRCB said in a statement, “Conservation is a key tool to help the state better manage our diminishing water supply in a new climate reality. The changes to the draft regulation propose a way to do this that maintains the state’s commitment to conservation while making it easier for water suppliers to meet their efficiency goals.”

Under the proposed regulation, water suppliers would develop their own budgets for six different urban water needs and then use them to calculate a total water use objective. The six budget categories are: residential indoor water use, residential outdoor water use, water loss (or the amount lost to leakage), and the irrigation of commercial, industrial and institutional landscapes. The regulation requires suppliers to meet their overall objective only, not the budget set for each of the components.

“The Legislature recognized that conservation is not one-size-fits-all, so the proposed regulation provides water suppliers with the tools and flexibility to adjust their conservation actions to local conditions and unique circumstances,” added Oppenheimer. “And for some suppliers that still find meeting their objectives challenging, the draft regulation offers alternative, easier ways to do so.”

The revised draft increases the number of suppliers that would qualify for alternative compliance pathways. It also extends the effective date for meeting objectives based on the most efficient outdoor standards by five years. Additionally, the draft delays the board’s assessment of suppliers’ compliance with the regulation until 2027, though they will still be required to report their objectives and water use.

A public workshop on the revisions will be held by the SWRCB on March 20 during a regularly scheduled public meeting of the board.

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