Tags: california | water | restrictions

California Water Restrictions Set to Cut Urban Use by 25 Percent

Image: California Water Restrictions Set to Cut Urban Use by 25 Percent
Reservoir banks that used to be underwater are seen at Millerton Lake, on the San Joaquin River, in Friant,California, May 6, 2015. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 04:39 PM

California regulators adopted unprecedented water restrictions on Tuesday as the state grapples with a four-year drought.

"It is better to prepare now than face much more painful cuts should it not rain in the fall," State Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus told The Associated Press.

The new restrictions call for agencies to cut urban water use statewide by 25 percent from 2013 levels.

The new regulations come as voluntary conservation efforts have fallen short. Water savings since last summer have only amounted to 8.6 percent, and residents and businesses used only 3.6 percent less water in March than in March 2013, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“We need to do more. Conserving now and over the summer is imperative,” water board staff scientist Max Gomberg said, according to the Times.

Meanwhile, agencies have been slow to issue penalties for waste. Most of the state’s 411 water suppliers issued 20 or fewer notices for water waste in March, USA Today reported.

Water reductions for cities or water districts range from 8 percent to 36 percent, and those that fail to meet their targets could face fines of as much as $10,000.

Water agencies will have discretion on how to meet the goals, including whether their cutbacks are targeted at residential, industrial, or commercial users.

Some local water agencies have criticized the new regulations, arguing that they will cause water prices to rise, property values to fall, and could dissuade development of new technology to address drought, the AP said.

Some of the more than 50 people who testified at Tuesday’s meeting said the rules were too strict or should take into consideration factors such as a need for more water in areas that are hotter.

"This will force me to be in a position to choose between meeting my conservation standard and taking care of public safety and public health," Marc Marcantonio, general manager of the Yorba Linda Water District in Orange County, said, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The new regulations are in place from June 1 till next February. Targets were determined by each city's per capita water use, with those having the highest usage rate facing the biggest cuts.

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California regulators adopted unprecedented water restrictions on Tuesday as the state grapples with a four-year drought.
california, water, restrictions
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2015-39-06
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 04:39 PM
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