UPDATE: State Water Resources Control Board Votes to Extend Emergency Regulation
Despite objections by the Water Authority and other water agencies throughout the state, the State Water Resources Control Board today re-adopted and extended the emergency drought regulation for another 270 days, or until the Governor rescinds or modifies the drought declaration.
The State Board's action continues the stress test approach adopted in May 2016, existing water use reporting requirements, and prohibitions on wasteful water use practices that have been in place since 2015. In addition, the regulation continues the existing required monthly reporting of water use by water agencies.
The Water Authority Board adopted a resolution during its Jan. 26 meeting opposing extension of the emergency regulation for four key reasons:
The San Diego region is not experiencing drought conditions.
San Diego region's customers continue to use water efficiently.
Allowing the emergency regulation to expire is necessary to maintain credibility with customers and businesses.
Urban water suppliers throughout most of the state are not in drought conditions.
Read more details about the Water Authority Board action here .
Further, San Diego County has all the water necessary to meet the needs of local businesses and residents because the region's ratepayers have invested approximately $3.5 billion over the past three decades to increase regional water supply reliability - including seawater desalination, additional water storage capacity and upgraded conveyance systems. Local retail water agencies in the region also have made - and are in the process of making - major investments in local drought-resilient supplies such as water recycling, potable reuse, and desalination projects that further increase regional self-reliance.
In addition, the San Diego region has continued to embrace water-use efficiency since the state's mandatory water-saving targets effectively ended for the region in May 2016. Regional water use from June-December 2016 was 17 percent below 2013 levels. Even before the state's emergency water-use mandates went into effect, per capita water use in the San Diego region had decreased nearly 40 percent between 1990 and 2015.
For decades, the Water Authority and its member agencies have promoted long-term water-use efficiency through education and outreach efforts. The agency launched its Live WaterSmart campaign in July 2016 to provide the public with resources for living a water-efficient lifestyle no matter the weather.