Water Savings The State Water Resources Control Board announced on January 4 that urban Californians’ monthly water conservation was 18.8% in November, a decrease from 19% in October and below the 20.2% savings in November 2015, when state-mandated conservation targets were in place. The State Water Board stressed the need for continued conservation given that Central and Southern California remain in drought conditions and the statewide snowpack is below average despite recent storms.
The cumulative statewide savings from June 2015 through November 2016 remains at 22.6%, compared with the same months in 2013. Since June 2015, 2.35 million acre-feet of water has been saved — enough water to supply more than 11 million people, or more than one-quarter of the state’s population, for a year.
Drought Regulations The State Water Board decided on February 8 to leave the emergency drought regulations in place.
A number of water agencies, including some in Southern California, had asked the State Water Board to let the emergency restrictions expire at the end of the month, arguing that continuing the emergency drought rules is difficult to justify to the public when reservoirs are fuller than historical averages.
Other Southern California water agencies, however, agreed with the State Water Board staff in urging the emergency restrictions be continued.
The water board will revisit the question of whether to continue the drought restrictions in May at the end of the wet season.