Urban Californians Maintain Strong Water Conservation Efforts
Urban Californians are maintaining their commitment to water conservation, using 18.8% less water in November 2016 compared to the baseline in 2013, and bringing the state’s cumulative water savings to 22.6% since June 2015, according to data released by the State Water Resources Control Board today.
In a press release issued today, the State Water Board cautioned that despite recent precipitation, the drought persists in Central and Southern California and the Sierra Nevada snowpack contains less water than average.
“Californians are continuing to conserve, which is the way it should be, given that we can’t know what the future will bring but we know that we can’t take water for granted anymore,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus.
“With climate change already creating water supply challenges that will only get worse and state population projected to exceed 40 million by 2020, we all need to become more efficient with our limited water supplies year in and year out. Increased water efficiency coupled with new storage, recycling, stormwater capture and other measures is going to make us more resilient over the long term,” said Marcus.
See the November fact sheet here. All November data can be found on the conservation reporting page.
The State Water Board noted that conservation levels have remained significant even for the many communities that have certified drought preparedness, the new metric for determining conservation goals.
Under the board’s revised emergency water conservation regulation, urban water agencies now have the ability to identify their own conservation standards based on a “stress test” of supply reliability. Water suppliers have to document that they have sufficient supplies to withstand three additional dry years or take additional measures that could include state-imposed mandatory conservation standards. The regulation is in effect through January 2017. The stress test results are here.
In November, 44% of suppliers achieved water savings above 20%. Additionally, many water suppliers showed November 2016 conservation levels that were even higher than November 2015 levels, including Lemoore, Patterson, Whittier, Goleta Water District and Sonoma.
According to the State Water Board, percentage savings alone do not tell a complete story of conservation achievement. Suppliers with already low R-GPCD use are still making significant efforts to save water even though it results in small percentage reductions. , Examples of communities with low R-GPCD and significant conservation and efficiency achievements include San Diego, Irvine Ranch Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Park Water Company, California-American Water Company San Diego District, Compton, Golden State Water Company (Florence Graham), Paramount, Estero Municipal Improvement District and Eureka.
The State Water Board states it will continue to monitor conservation levels and water supply conditions, and will present a staff proposal to extend emergency conservation regulations for public discussion at its January 18 meeting. The proposal may include a return to state-mandated conservation targets if dry conditions return or if conservation levels slip significantly.