July 30 – Biggest California Water Users Targeted for Enforcement Action

California Waterkeepers call for bigger cuts to outdoor water use and increased investment in enforcement

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced a suite of enforcement actions against water agencies that failed to meet the Governor’s emergency mandate to reduce water use by 25 percent. The June conservation data, the first month of data under the mandatory regulations, revealed a large disparity in the amount of water used in various areas of the state, with continued high water use in some areas of inland Southern California.

California Coastkeeper Alliance and California Waterkeeper organizations strongly support the State Water Board enforcement actions, as a matter of fairness to the places from which we draw our water and to those communities who have made sacrifices and changes to comply with conservation mandates. The organizations urge water agencies that have failed to meet their targets to take immediate measures, including restricting outdoor water use, dedicating more resources for education and outreach, and increasing resources for local enforcement.

According to numbers released today, while many communities made significant sacrifices to reach conservation levels of more than 30 percent, other areas fell far short of the conservation targets. The State Water Board will take enforcement action against a select number of suppliers—primarily located in inland Southern California—that missed their conservation targets by more than 15 percent. For example, Fallbrook Public Utility District in Northern San Diego County was required to meet a 36% reduction, and only reduced by 8.5 percent. The State Water Board will also take enforcement action against water suppliers throughout the state that missed their conservation targets by between 5 percent and 15 percent.

California Waterkeeper organizations issued the following statements:

California Coastkeeper Alliance, Executive Director Sara Aminzadeh,
“Some areas have not made meaningful efforts to reduce water use, after more than a year since the Governor first issued the call to Californians to conserve. We strongly support enforcement actions to ensure that our conservation targets are being met as a matter of both fairness and necessity. Affluent Southern California communities cannot get a pass.”

Orange County Coastkeeper, Executive Director Garry Brown,
“Today’s State Water Board’s announcement of enforcement against agencies failing to meet targets gives us hope that Orange County agencies will finally take water conservation mandates seriously. There is no room for excuses, as we have seen other Southern California communities meet water conservation targets through reduced landscape irrigation, turf removal and more efficient water management. More cities need to follow suit.”

San Diego Coastkeeper, Waterkeeper Matt O’Malley,
“San Diego Coastkeeper applauds the State Water Board for enforcing its water conservation regulations. A year and a half has passed since the governor called for reductions and our local water agencies have had ample time to plan for and achieve these reductions. Our region uses more than half of its drinking water outdoors, in many cases to irrigate unsustainable landscapes. Where agencies haven’t succeeded, we think enforcement measures that include fines and mandate conservation measures will motivate water agencies to comply.”