NEWS WORTH NOTING: Statewide water savings exceed 25 percent in February; Water Board adopts revisions to enforcement policy that are expected to generally increase penalties

Statewide water savings exceed 25 percent in February

Conservation to Remain a California Way of Life

From the State Water Resources Control Board:

The State Water Resources Control Board today announced that urban Californians’ monthly water conservation was 25.1 percent in February, more than double the 11.9 percent savings in February 2016, when state-mandated conservation targets were in place.

The cumulative statewide savings from June 2015 through February 2017 remains at 22.5 percent, compared with the same months in 2013.  Since June 2015, 2.6 million acre-feet of water has been saved – enough water to supply more than 13 million people – exceeding a third of the state’s population – for a year.

“Even with a banner year for winter precipitation, Californians have continued to practice sensible conservation, with a significant drop in water use in the South Coast,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “Though our water picture is significantly improved in most of California, we have to maintain our drought memory and shift to planning and action to prepare for the long term.  From transitioning to California-friendly landscapes and smart irrigation systems, to reducing leaks and increasing use of recycled water and other measures – we need to keep in motion to face a future with longer and more severe droughts under climate change.”

In November, the State Water Board and other state agencies released a draft plan for achieving long-term efficient water use and meeting drought preparedness goals that reflect California’s diverse climate, landscape, and demographic conditions.

The plan, “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life,” includes making permanent the monthly reporting of water use from urban water suppliers. It also includes permanently prohibiting wasteful practices like hosing off sidewalks and driveways, excessively watering lawns or watering lawns during or within 48 hours after a rain event.

The plan’s fundamental premise is that efficient water use helps all of California better prepare for longer and more severe droughts caused by climate change. A final plan is expected to be released soon.

Conservation Data

  • Statewide water savings for February 2017 was 25.1 percent (85,962 acre feet or 28 billion gallons), an increase from January 2017’s 20.7 percent savings, and more than double February 2016’s 11.9 percent savings (13.6 billion gallons).
  • All but one hydrologic region reported greater water savings in February 2017 than for the same month last year.  Notably, the South Coast hydrologic region decreased its water production substantially (saving about 51,208 acre-feet or 16.7 billion gallons), and contributed almost 60 percent to the statewide water savings in February 2017.
  • Cumulative statewide percent reduction for June 2015 – February 2017 (twenty-one months) is 22.5 percent, which equates to 2,597,681 acre-feet (846.5 billion gallons).
  • Statewide average water use for February 2017 was 57.5 gallons residential gallons per capita per day (R-GPCD), the lowest R-GPCD reported to date (below the 57.9 R-GPCD reported for January 2017).
  • See the February fact sheet here. All February data can be found on this page.


To learn about all the actions the state took to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov. To learn more about the state’s efforts to build long-term water sector resilience, visit the Governor’s Water Action Plan page.

Legal alert: Water Board adopts revisions to enforcement policy that are expected to generally increase penalties

From Downey Brand:

On April 4, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted revisions to its 2010 Enforcement Policy that guides statewide decision-making on bringing enforcement actions and issuing monetary Administrative Civil Liability (ACL) penalties.  The 2010 Enforcement Policy prescribed a multi-step, mathematical approach to calculating a proposed discretionary penalty for alleged violations of the Water Code and/or Clean Water Act, and permits or other regulatory documents adopted thereunder.  This approach tracks the statutorily prescribed “factors” that must be considered when the Water Boards take discretionary enforcement.

In 2016, the Office of Enforcement began to seek revisions to the 2010 Enforcement Policy. Multiple drafts of the policy were issued, and a determined group of stakeholders secured some beneficial changes to the proposed policy on issues including, but not limited to …

Continue reading at Downey Brand here:  Water Board Adopts Revisions to Enforcement Policy That Are Expected to Generally Increase Penalties


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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.

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