Sacramento Regional Water Authority responds to my Zocalo commentary

The Sacramento Regional Water Authority sent in the following response to my Zocalo commentary posted yesterday:

Indeed the North State is uniquely connected to our waterways. They are critical to our water supplies, our economy and our quality of life.  Northern California water agencies willing embrace the responsibility of stewardship of the rivers and streams that meet the water needs of the entire state. This commentary ignores, however, the progress the North State–and the Sacramento region in particular–has made over the past two decades toward sustainable water use.

The Sacramento region has significantly reduced its per capita water use over the past decade and is one of the few regions of the state that has committed to meeting the 20 percent reduction by 2020 that is the goal of state law. This progress came without the same incentive of looming water scarcity faced by other parts of the state.  Active regional and local water conservation programs that feature both indoor fixture and outdoor landscape measures have added to this progress. For example, water providers in the Sacramento region were among the leaders in California in lawn replacement rebates and using recycled water for residential landscape irrigation. The Sacramento region’s water use compares favorably with inland parts of Southern California, such as the Inland Empire, which is a more accurate and fair comparison given similar climate and housing density.

Especially troubling is the suggestion that all of Southern California has accommodated decades of growth without additional water use.  While this may be true within the Los Angeles city limits, in response to reductions in Owens Valley, Colorado River and Delta supplies, the numbers don’t support this claim for the entire southland.

Californians from the north and the south certainly need to come together to make necessary decisions about water, as the author states. But such progress is made more difficult with trusted thought leaders perpetuate negative stereotypes about the North State’s commitment to water efficiency and sustainable water use, and neglect to acknowledge our history of reliance solely on our local water supplies.

–John Woodling, Executive Director, Regional Water Authority,

What did you think?  Feel free to offer any comments of your own ….

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