In May 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted an emergency drought regulation requiring a 25% reduction in potable water use across the state. SWRCB’s emergency regulation outlined percentage reduction tiers (conservation standards) in gross water production for each urban water supplier to achieve the 25% reduction. Initially, the Department’s conservation standard was set at 28%, but as SWRCB continued to refine the emergency regulation, the Department’s standard was reduced multiple times and is now set at 15% in accordance with the latest emergency regulation.
The latest amendment of the emergency regulation outlined a “stress-test” approach to water conservation. It allowed water suppliers to self-certify their own conservation standard based on supply and demand from previous years, and it also extended the emergency regulation through February 2017. Using the tools and method provided by SWRCB, Department staff calculated a revised conservation standard of 0%; however, this included an imported supply that is highly variable and is not a drought tolerant supply. Without this supply, the calculated conservation standard is 15%, which is the Department's new water conservation goal.