California Drought Rules May Soon Be Eased

Photo by Ray Bouknight via Flickr

On May 9th, California state regulators recommended changes in emergency drought rules that will allow communities to either ease or even drop mandatory conservation targets that have been in effect for much of the past year. Local areas will set their conservation targets based on their ability to meet demand if there are three more dry years, while the case of some Northern California communities with local reservoirs, could mean the end of mandatory cuts.

The emergency drought regulations last year ordered a 25% reduction in statewide urban water use. Communities with the highest per-capita use were ordered to cut more than that, and districts with modest use, less.

Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order instructing the water board to make some of the regulations permanent, such as state agencies to permanently require urban districts to continue monthly reporting on local water use and instructs the state agencies to develop water efficiencies for urban suppliers that will adjust to conditions of weather.