published on May 23, 2016 - 8:59 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

California Water Service (Cal Water) announced Monday that it could ease water-use reduction requirements in the wake of a decision by the State Water Resources Control Board to allow water suppliers to set their own conservation targets based upon local water supply conditions. 

“We believe very strongly that we are still experiencing serious drought conditions in many parts of the state, and we will continue to encourage and support our customers’ efforts to use water efficiently,” said Shannon Dean, vice president of Corporate Communications and Community Affairs. 

“However,” Dean added, “given the State Board’s formula for setting new conservation targets, it is likely that we will suspend surcharges in most, if not all, of our service areas.”

According to Dean, Cal Water must first analyze the supply conditions, including commitments for deliveries from purchased water providers, before finalizing new water-use reduction requirements.

The State Board requires water providers to submit new water-use reduction targets by June 22. 

“We have a broad footprint throughout the state, and water conditions vary dramatically depending upon where you live and the source of your community’s water,” Dean said. 

The new State Board regulations allow water suppliers to forecast demand based upon average water usage in 2013 and 2014, and compare that demand to projected available supplies for the next three years, assuming a continuation of drought conditions. The new reduction targets will be the difference between the two in the third year.

Regardless of how the formula pencils out in each community, Dean said, Cal Water will continue to ask customers to reduce water use by at least 8 percent, even in communities where surcharges have been suspended. 

“We fully expect that in January 2017, the State Board will introduce even more stringent water-saving requirements than we have faced during the past several months. Given that, and the fact that we are still in a drought, we don’t think it’s prudent to ask customers for anything less,” Dean said. 

Cal Water will notify the public when it has completed its analysis and determined how customers will be affected by the State Board’s new regulation. 

Cal Water, which serves about 2 million people through 480,300 service connections in California, has provided water service in the state since 1926.

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