The Calaveras County Water District Board of Directors voted to remove all drought emergency water conservation restrictions at today’s Board meeting (Read the resolution here), meaning all CCWD customers are now at a 0% conservation level. This decision came after the State Water Resources Control Board made significant changes to statewide water conservation emergency regulations on May 18, which now allow water agencies to set conservation targets based on local water supplies. CCWD calculated its supplies based on the State Board’s guidelines and determined the District does not currently have a supply shortage and, even if the next three years are dry, will not experience a supply shortage.

“The updated requirements from the state reflect much of what we requested in our comments to the State Water Board as local water supply conditions are the primary consideration in calculating each agency’s conservation requirements,” said Dave Eggerton, CCWD general manager. “The action taken today would not have been possible without the incredible support from our community and the many efforts of our dedicated staff.”

While CCWD has lifted drought emergency restrictions, Gov. Jerry Brown mandated by executive order that some basic, common sense conservation requirements become permanent and CCWD will enforce these requirements on an ongoing basis. Here is a list of the state-mandated permanent water use prohibitions:

  • Irrigating with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians
  • Irrigating with potable water outside of newly-constructed homes and buildings not in accordance with emergency regulations or other requirements established in the California Building Standards Code
  • Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways
  • Allowing runoff when irrigating with potable water
  • Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars or other vehicles
  • Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water
  • Irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following measureable rainfall
Detailed Summary

In response to the near-normal winter precipitation in 2015-2016 throughout much of Northern California, Gov. Brown acknowledged the dramatically improved water supply conditions and issued Executive Order B-37-16 on May 9, 2016, directing the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) to adjust the Urban Water Emergency Water Conservation Regulations to account for differing supply conditions throughout the state. Immediately following the Governor’s Order, the State Board released a draft proposal that would revise the statewide conservation mandates that have been in place since spring 2015. Water suppliers will now be able to define individualized conservation standards based on their own unique supply and demand conditions. Suppliers are tasked with analyzing their local water supplies and demands and then must self-certify the accuracy of their analyses and submit all supporting data to the State Board.

CCWD staff analyzed CCWD’s water supplies in accordance with the guidelines laid out by the State Board and has determined that the District has adequate water supplies to meet and exceed the needs of its customers in 2016 through 2019, even if three consecutive dry years are experienced.  Therefore, staff recommended that the Board rescind Ordinance 2015-03, Establishing Stage 2.5 Mandatory Conservation Measures, adopted October 14, 2015 (attached).  Furthermore, staff will return to the Board in June for consideration of adoption of the District’s Updated Urban Water Management Plan, which will incorporate all permanent water waste prohibitions put in place by the State Water Board on May 18, 2016.

The District fully recognizes the Governor’s efforts to make water conservation a way of life for Californians (see Executive Order B-37-16), and the District will adopt any permanent water waste prohibitions put in place by the State Board. Additionally, the District will continue to educate its customers about the importance of water use efficiency. Finally, the District is eager to collaborate with other stakeholders to work closely with the State Board to craft reasonable and achievable long-term and permanent water use efficiency policies that will guide California into the future.

Written by Joel Metzger