May 18 – Coastkeeper Responds to State Board’s Consideration to Readopt Drought Emergency Regulations

Please consider this statement in response to today’s California State Water Resources Control Board’s consideration of a proposed resolution amending and readopting drought-related emergency regulations for urban water conservation. This statement is submitted by San Diego Coastkeeper Program Director Travis Pritchard. He may be reached for further comment by contacting Jamie Hampton at 858-337-7466 or Jamie@gomixte.com

“It seems as if the State Water Resources Control Board is looking at this issue through a political and financial lens, and ignoring on-the-ground realities. Their last-minute inclusion of the regional aggregation conservation standards will allow poor-performing water agencies in San Diego County to hide behind the good conservation numbers produced by our better-performing water agencies. Additionally, not including a minimum conservation target will allow water agencies to move away from water conservation, which is the most sustainable, equitable and cost-effective strategy.

Despite the rhetoric about El Nino, 89 percent of California remains in drought conditions, nine of the state’s 12 major reservoirs are below historic average levels, and the Sierra snowpack is only at 56 percent of normal. We can no longer think of water scarcity in California as an emergency, as unexpected or as a drought that we will eventually get through. We agree with the Governor’s recent proclamation that permanent conservation standards need to be put in place, and we wish the State Board would have implemented strategies that would put California on pace to be a worldwide leader on water.”