Californians’ Water Use Reflects Shift to Permanent Changes
From the Association of California Water Agencies:
Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Executive Director Timothy Quinn issued the following statement today on Californians’ ongoing water conservation efforts under the state’s modified emergency conservation regulation.
“Wherever you go in this state, there are signs that Californians are making permanent changes to the way they use water indoors and outdoors. Lawns are being replaced with water-wise landscapes, and toilets and fixtures are being changed out for more efficient models. These changes – aided in part by hundreds of millions of dollars in rebates and incentives from local water agencies – are translating into permanent, sustainable water savings.
“The latest data from the State Water Resources Control Board shows that Californians continue to step up and use water wisely. We are glad the State Water Board is recognizing this commitment to ongoing efficiency, and we hope the policy discussion can now move beyond comparing how Californians are performing each month compared to 2015, when state-mandated targets were in effect due to an unprecedented emergency. Those comparisons are much less meaningful than the actual shift we are seeing to permanent, efficient practices that can be sustained over time.
“Californians are not taking their eyes off the ball. They are doing less of the onerous and drastic measures required last year – such as letting lawns go completely brown, putting buckets in the shower, refraining from flushing and basically not using water. Those actions are not sustainable, and they are not warranted now.
“We applaud Californians for doing what we’ve asked: making changes for the long haul. That’s exactly what we need to raise the bar on long-term efficiency and prepare our communities for the inevitable droughts to come. We need to move forward with long-term water-use efficiency that makes sense for Californians.”
Environmental Community Calls for Reinstatement of
Emergency Water Use Standards in Light of Declining Conservation
September Water Usage Show Californians Continue to Backslide on Conservation
For the third month in a row – since the State Water Resources Control Board abandoned its hugely successful mandatory urban water conservation program in favor of a ‘self-certification’ scheme – California residents have conserved less water. According to a report just released by the State Water Resources Control Board, Californians conserved only 18.3 percent in September compared with the same month in 2013, falling significantly from the 26.2 percent savings we achieved in September 2015 under mandatory conservation.
Emergency and long-term water conservation standards are being developed pursuant to a series of Executive Orders issued by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has identified “mak[ing] conservation a way of life for every Californian” as the top priority of his California’s Water Action Plan .
With the State Water Board, California Department of Water Resources and several other state agencies poised to release a draft long-term conservation plan on November 14, environmental groups are calling for the reinstatement of emergency drought regulations that proved so successful until long-term standards are adopted.
Following is a statement from Tracy Quinn , senior water policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“The State Board has failed the people of California by letting water agencies off the hook for mandatory conservation. That sent a very confusing message to residents, who are wrongly being told it’s OK to water their lawns or roll back the conservation efforts they’d implemented over the past few years.
“As we face a potential sixth year of unprecedented drought, it’s critical that we reverse this backsliding trend by returning to mandatory conservation targets and adopting a suite of strong permanent conservation measures. We need meaningful regulations that are going to make a real difference in our homes, businesses, and farms across the state.”
Following is a statement from Sara Aminzadeh, Executive Director of California Coastkeeper Alliance:
“Governor Brown has a real opportunity to cement his legacy as an environmental champion by leading the charge on aggressive water conservation standards to ensure our state’s water security. We can’t continue to lurch from drought emergency to drought emergency. We need to recognize the reality of less predictable water supplies due to climate change, and adopt permanent conservation standards that will allow California’s environment, communities and economy to thrive.”
Following is a statement from Jonathan Nelson, policy director of Community Water Center:
“At a time when so many of our communities still lack access to safe, reliable drinking water, we should not have abandoned successful emergency mandatory water conservation targets. The drought still continues in significant portions of the state, so we must continue to promote the Human Right to Water by implementing water conservation response measures that take the unique needs of our most vulnerable communities into account.”
State Water Board temporarily suspends monthly reporting requirement
From the State Water Resources Control Board:
On February 4, 2015, the Deputy Director for Water Rights issued Order WR 2015-0002-DWR (Informational Order) to 1,061 Statement holders in the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds and Delta. This Informational Order, adopted as part of the integrated emergency drought response and extended in force through September 13, 2016, requires among other things affected diverters to report their water diversions for each month by the fifth day of the succeeding month.
Even though the Informational Order remains in force, the Division of Water Rights recognizes that early cumulative precipitation for the current water year and coincident seasonal reduction in diversions have reduced pressure on the Sacramento-San Joaquin watershed.
In light of the current conditions, but mindful of the potential for on-going drought, the Division hereby exercises its discretion and temporarily suspends, beginning with the October 2016 reporting period, the requirement for monthly reporting of water diversions under Order WR 2015-0002-DWR.
The Division will continue to monitor conditions and will make future decisions with respect to monthly reporting as conditions develop. This temporary suspension does not affect the enforceability of the order, as to responses previously required, or for the other annual reporting responsibilities of all water users under their water rights.
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.