FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California water districts large and small urge regulators to toss out or significantly relax emergency drought orders requiring residents to take shorter showers and let their lawns turn brown.
The State Water Board on Wednesday is holding an informational workshop to determine the future of urban water conservation in the state. California cities are under orders to use at least 20 percent less water.
Dave Bolland of the Association of California Water Agencies says in a letter to the board that it is time to end the restrictions statewide.
He says the huge savings Californians have made no longer reflects the state’s improved water supply.
California is in a fifth year of the drought emergency; a near-average winter for rain and snowfall has eased the drought.
“Let’s take into account our realistic supply and the fact that we have been conserving a whole lot of water so far,” San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokesman Steve Ritchie said. “Everyone has been doing a great job here in the Bay Area and our customers, in particular, they have conserved well beyond the requirements.”
The East Bay Municipal Utility District has issued a following statement on the letter.
Improved precipitation and snow this winter raised water levels at EBMUD’s Pardee, Camanche and East Bay reservoirs. Currently, our reservoirs combined are 71 percent full. Following the state’s determination on the water needs of California as a whole, the EBMUD Board of Directors will evaluate our improved drought status and consider easing conservation targets, water use restrictions and other measures. EBMUD will review these actions on May 24.
Here is the reaction from the Santa Clara Valley Water District:
Here is ACWA’s comment letter: