State Water Board Staff Proposes Extension of Emergency Conservation Regulation

The State Water Resources Control Board staff is formally proposing that the state’s emergency conservation regulation be extended another 270 days. A draft resolution to amend and readopt the emergency regulation will be taken up after 1 p.m. on Feb. 8. Comments on the proposed resolution will be accepted through noon Monday, Feb. 6.

ACWA sent a comment letter to the State Water Board Feb. 3 asking that the emergency regulation be allowed to lapse.

The current emergency regulation became effective on May 31, 2016 and is set to expire Feb. 28, 2017, unless extended by the State Water Board. The draft resolution proposing extending the emergency regulation states that California has experienced “significant snow and rainfall in December and January, causing many of the state’s reservoirs to shift to flood-control operations.” The resolution adds, however, that groundwater levels remain “depleted in many areas” and “precipitation cannot be counted on to continue.” Hydrologic water conditions “remain unclear” until at least April, the resolution adds, and “continued implementation of reasonable water conservation measures is prudent to address water supply uncertainty.”

ACWA staff and several water agency representatives testified at a State Water Board hearing Jan. 18 and voiced support for letting the regulation expire in February, citing dramatically improved conditions. They also emphasized that urban water suppliers remain committed to helping their customers shift to permanent changes to improve water use efficiency on an ongoing basis.

The State Water Board staff report is here. ACWA’s previous comment letter on allowing the emergency regulation to lapse is here.