LOS ANGELES (AP) — State water regulators are set to release on Tuesday an updated plan for conservation during the drought after their previous water-use reduction targets have come under fire from some local water departments.
The mandates for water savings by the State Water Resources Control Board are in response to Gov. Jerry Brown‘s order to slash statewide water use in cities and communities by 25 percent compared with 2013. The board is expected to formally adopt the regulations next week.
“This is an issue of everyone getting prepared for the longer haul,” said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the board, at a panel Monday at the University of Southern California’s Schwarzenegger Institute.
California is in its fourth year of drought, and state officials fear it may last as long as a decade.
The board’s most recent proposal, released last week, calls for water use to plummet by as much as 36 percent in some communities. Some cities and agencies say the targets are unrealistic and possibly illegal. While board officials say conservation is about protecting local water supplies, some Northern California communities say their longstanding legal rights to water protect them from having to make cuts to help other parched towns.
“We recognize that California’s ongoing drought has reached crisis proportions, but we remain troubled by the (board’s) repeated readiness to abandon well-established legal principles in its drought responses,” representatives of suburban Sacramento water agencies wrote in a letter to the water board.
The current plan to save water assigns conservation targets based on per-capita residential water use last summer. Other agencies have offered alternatives that reflect greater demand for water in more arid parts of the state and give credit for conservation efforts before the drought began.
The revised proposal is expected late Tuesday.
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