State Water Board Releases Proposed Framework for Modified Emergency Conservation Regulation Through October 2016

State Water Board Releases Proposed Framework for Modified Emergency Conservation Regulation Through October 2016
Comments Due Jan. 6, 2016

The State Water Resources Control Board today released a proposed regulatory framework that extends the 2015 emergency regulation on urban water conservation through October 2016. The framework also includes details on modifications to the emergency regulation the State Water Board plans to seek next year. The State Water Board is accepting public comment on the proposed framework until Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 and is expected to consider the proposal in early February.

The proposed regulatory framework is available here<>.


In May 2015, the State Water Board adopted an emergency regulation for implementing the required 25% reduction in urban water use outlined in the April 1 executive order issued by Gov. Jerry Brown. The regulation requires urban water suppliers to meet mandatory conservation targets ranging from 4% to 36%, as compared to 2013 water use, through February 2016.

On Nov. 13, 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order directing the State Water Board to extend the emergency conservation regulation through October 2016 if the drought persists through January 2016. As a result, the State Water Board on Dec. 7 held a public workshop to gather input on what modifications, if any, should be made if the existing regulation needs to be extended.

As part of the stakeholder process, ACWA submitted its comment letter<> on Nov. 30, advancing complementary proposals to address climate, growth and recycled water adjustments, credit for desalination and potable reuse as drought-proof supplies, credit for groundwater as a reserve water supply and an option for regional compliance.

Framework Recommendations

In the proposed regulatory framework released today, State Water Board staff recommends a number of modifications to the emergency conservation regulation including:

*   A climate adjustment of up to four percentage points for water suppliers located in the warmest regions of the state;
*   An adjustment to account for water-efficient growth since 2013;
*   A reduction for urban water suppliers using new drought resilient water supplies; and
*   Modification of the Commercial Agricultural Exclusion to set a threshold of at least $1,000 per year in agricultural sales revenue for customers claiming the exclusion.

The framework also includes a recommendation that all credits and adjustments be capped so that the maximum allowable decrease for any individual water supplier does not exceed four percentage points.

State Water Board staff rejected stakeholder proposals for credits or adjustments related to non-potable recycled water use, sustainable groundwater management, regional compliance, and isolated hydrogeological regions that do not import or export water.

The framework does not address possible responses to expected higher-than-normal winter precipitation and the need for re-evaluation of the emergency regulation by April.

Next Steps and Questions

ACWA will review the proposed framework and submit comments to the State Water Board by the deadline in early January.

ACWA appreciates that State Water Board staff has recognized the need for adjustments and proposed some key modifications. However, ACWA and water agencies will continue to advocate that the State Water Board address other unresolved equity concerns.

ACWA member agencies with questions may contact ACWA Special Projects Manager Dave Bolland at (916) 441-4545 or<>

Tags: , ,