Many San Joaquin Valley water suppliers found it easier to meet the state’s new, lower conservation standards during March, the state Water Resources Control Board said Tuesday.
The state reduced conservation standards for most Valley locations because of climate and growth patterns. In February, most Valley water suppliers had their conservation target lowered between 2 percent and 3 percent. Now, the most a city must cut is 34 percent. Many cities can cut less under the revised rules.
Statewide, Californians reduced consumption by 24.3 percent in March when compared with the same month in 2013. Since June, the state has conserved 1.3 million acre-feet of water, an amount that exceeds a filled-up Pine Flat Reservoir.
Fresno water customers saved 32.1 percent during March, the first month of the new conservation standards. Fresno’s conservation standard, which was 28 percent in February, is now 25 percent. City spokesman Mark Standriff said Fresno’s consumption fell 34 percent in April.
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“Both March and April saw a fairly consistent amount of rainfall, which obviously helps when you can let Mother Nature take care of your irrigation and save money,” he said. “Hopefully, our customers can continue the same level of conservation.”
In Clovis, consumption was down 35.5 percent in March. Under the previous water conservation standard, Clovis wouldn’t have met the state rule, but its standard fell from 36 percent to 33 percent for March. In April, Clovis water consumption fell 34.8 percent compared with April 2013.
“March was really good, but it’s been fairly wet so it allows people to turn off their sprinklers,” said Lisa Koehn, Clovis’ assistant public utilities director.
Both March and April saw a fairly consistent amount of rainfall, which obviously helps when you can let Mother Nature take care of your irrigation and save money.
Mark Standriff, Fresno city spokesman
In Visalia, consumption fell 32.6 percent, exceeding conservation levels. The city’s standard is 29 percent.
The most significant Valley consumption drop was Kingsburg, which fell 52.6 percent below its consumption for March 2013. Selma’s water use fell 45.6 percent in March compared with the same month in 2013.
The new standards will be in place until at least later this month. The Water Resources Control Board is meeting in two weeks to consider additional changes to conservation standards.
Koehn said many water suppliers are suggesting that the board consider ending the emergency proclamation after a significantly wet year across much of the state.
“A lot of agencies are saying if we have adequate supplies, why should we have to live by the same rules or bring the numbers down,” Koehn said. “But it’s not clear how they will move forward.”
In a prepared statement, Felicia Marcus, the water board’s chairwoman, said parts of the Central Valley and Southern California didn’t get enough rain this year.
“We may not need the same levels of conservation as last year, but we still need to keep all we can in our reservoirs and groundwater basins in case this winter is just a punctuation mark in a longer drought,” she said.
Valley water savings
Most Valley water suppliers met their conservation goals for March, according to state data.
Monthly pct. saved
Bakman Water Co.
Pinedale Co. Water Dist.
Source: State Water Resources Control Board