OPPINION: State Needs Drought Emergency Exit Plan

Californians are doing an outstanding job conserving water, reducing urban water use by nearly 26 percent during the last seven months of 2015, compared with the same period in 2013, exceeding Gov. Jerry Brown’s 25 percent reduction mandate. California’s investor-owned water utilities, together serving approximately 6 million people, are partnering with their customers to achieve those savings. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has recognized many of our members among the state’s water conservation standouts.

The severity of this historic drought has required extraordinary conservation measures to ensure adequate water supplies. As SWRCB Chair Felicia Marcus said last spring, “This is the drought of the century, with greater impact than anything our parents and grandparents experienced, and we have to act accordingly.” Given the uncertainties with the weather, the SWRCB made the prudent, responsible decision on Feb. 2 to extend the emergency conservation regulations (with appropriate adjustments for local climates, population growth and drought resilient supply investments) through October 2016.