Regulatory Rundown: Emergency Regulations Update

In follow up to our last Regulatory Rundown post, the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) has now issued adjustments in the mandatory water reductions targets. Based on climate, population increase and investment in water sources, the State Water Resource Control Board considered all water supplier petitions and has made several adjustments. The new conservation standards, released last week, awards reductions between 1 and 8% with one water supplier receiving a reduction of over 15%.

For the past year, California has been able to reduce its water usage by roughly 23.9% (compared to 2013). While this is a great accomplishment it remains 1% shy of the Governor’s original 25% target. With the state entering its 5th year of drought, reductions in water supplier’s conservation standards seem to be lessening despite pressure and urgency of an extreme climate condition on the State, that isn’t going away anytime soon.

Even though water suppliers are being heard and reductions are granted in order to create a fair reduction goal, this should not overshadow the fact that this dry weather is California’s new reality.  We should draw our attention and efforts to solutions and ways to build a sustainable water infrastructure, where conservation mandates are no longer necessary and conservation is a Californian way of life. Despite regional differences in water supply and conservation targets, it is important that we work together for long term solutions so that we all feel the need to conserve. Even though El Nino favored Northern California this time around, Southern California was missed and reservoirs remain dry.

As a California native, I would like to see our elective officials respond by prioritizing policies that enact long term resilience and reform to our State’s outdated way of governing the world’s most precious resource, water. While sports teams in California don’t always get along, especially when the Giants and Dodgers are lined up to play this weekend, I hope that we can come together to develop innovative conservation solutions. Our approach to regional challenges will differ, however, it is important that we continue to push forward and put pressure on ourselves to conserve.