Regional Water Authority Responds to Revised Water Conservation Framework

By April 18, 2015Advocacy, News, News & Info

Sacramento Region Tasked With Achieving the State’s Highest Conservation Targets

SACRAMENTO– The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) today issued a revised framework for achieving the Governor’s order to reduce water use by 25 percent statewide. John Woodling, Executive Director for the Regional Water Authority, which represents 22 water providers in the Sacramento region, issued the following statement.

“We appreciate the magnitude of the challenges the ongoing drought creates for California, and are committed to responding by continuing and expanding our conservation efforts.

“The State Water Resources Control Board is now tasking the Sacramento region with implementing the highest water use reductions in the state, with more than a dozen local water providers asked to conserve 32 percent or more. The revised standards call for even greater reductions for most of the region’s water providers than the initial framework did. Our region’s water use reflects the community’s unique characteristics, such as landscapes that are larger than in many other areas of the state and our many hot summer days. As such, we are being called upon to take on a disproportionately larger share of the targeted 25 percent reduction.

“In the coming days, water providers will be working to develop action plans for achieving these additional reductions. Hitting such high marks will be challenging and is likely to have significant impacts–both on customers and the revenues and fiscal stability of water suppliers.

“RWA will continue to encourage the State Water Resources Control Board to modify its draft regulations to provide for a more equitable apportionment of responsibility statewide, but at the same time we must continue to take aggressive action to reduce water use during the ongoing drought.

“These are unprecedented drought conditions. Increasing conservation will benefit both California and our water supplies locally, especially Folsom Reservoir, which supplies water to hundreds of thousands of people in our region. Although Folsom Reservoir currently holds more water than at the same time last year, it is expected to be in worse shape by the end of summer. Making our efforts ever-more important is the nearly non-existent Sierra snowpack that will take its toll as we move into summer.

“The Sacramento region is–and has been–part of the solution during this ongoing drought.

“The region is the only major metropolitan area that substantively responded to the Governor’s call to reduce water use by 20 percent. All RWA member agencies exceeded the statewide average water use reduction in 2014 with savings ranging from 14 to 24 percent, and collectively RWA member agencies achieved a 19.4 percent reduction in water use in 2014 compared to 2013. This comes on the heels of an overall 20 percent reduction in per capita water use in the decade leading up to 2013. The region’s total water use has declined despite adding 400,000 people since 2000.

“We are dismayed that the Water Board did not recognize this leadership in assigning new requirements for 2015.

“We anticipate that most of the water use reductions will come in our landscapes –where most household water use occurs and where people can make the biggest difference in their water use. It was the willingness of customers to limit landscape water use last year that allowed the region to achieve such great water use reductions. The region’s residents will need to make even greater reductions in landscape water use to achieve the current reductions targets.

“Water providers are committed to helping customers reach these new conservation targets. Residents can learn about free programs, rebates and tips for reducing water use at BeWaterSmart.info.”

About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing 22 water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento area. Its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.