In the second month of lower water conservation standards, central San Joaquin Valley water suppliers still had trouble meeting the state’s call for reduced water use in April.
Eleven suppliers met the state’s standard in April and five missed.
Overall, Californians saved 26.1 percent compared with April 2013, according to data released Monday by the State Water Resources Control Board. Since June 2015, the state has cut use by 24.1 percent, which equates to 466.3 billion gallons.
Fresno residents saved 33.9 percent in April. The city has a conservation standard of 25 percent and residents have saved 26.9 percent since last year, exceeding the state’s conservation standard.
Clovis, which has a conservation standard of 33 percent, saved 34.8 percent in April. The city has saved 30.5 percent since last year’s rules went into effect, behind the state’s conservation standard.
May will be the last month with the existing guidelines and June’s numbers will reflect a new approach in the state’s water conservation program.
Later this month, the state will evaluate all the suppliers’ plans for the way they will handle drought conditions over the next three years.
466.3 billionThe number of gallons the state has saved since last June.
If suppliers can prove they have enough water in the state’s so-called “stress test,” their conservation standard will drop, said Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager for the state water board’s Office of Research.
Each supplier must self-certify by documenting to the state that it has enough water supplies to meet community needs for three additional dry years.
“They should document how much water they will have available given what customer demands will be,” Gomberg said.
Supplier reports that are incomplete orinaccurate will be rejected, Gomberg said, and existing standards will remain in effect.
Fresno city officials continue to piece together their data for the state, said city spokesman Mark Standriff.
City officials, he said, remain cautious.
“Just because we have been very good at handling the state mandates, at the same time we don’t know if there is going to be another drought here next year,” he said.
Clovis has an interest in a water-banking facility with Fresno Irrigation District near Kerman. Water banking wasn’t included last year in available supplies the state considered in its initial conservation standards. The state also didn’t consider weather conditions and population growth since the base year in 2013. Earlier this year, the state added climate and population growth into its calculations and reduced the conservation standards for many Valley suppliers.
If we don’t have a drought rate, we will be advising people to conserve but at a lesser level.
Lisa Koehn, Clovis assistant public utilities director
For Clovis, including the water-banking facility is an encouraging development, said Lisa Koehn, assistant public utilities director.
“We’re continuing to look at other pieces of property to do recharge on because you have to make use of the water when it’s available,” she said.
Koehn said that even if water supplies are adequate, the city will still be urging people to conserve.
Valley water conservation
Many Valley water suppliers met their monthly conservation standards in April, although fewer saw their cumulative savings meet the state standards.
Cumulative savings (June 2015-April 2016 vs. 2013)
Bakman Water Co.
Pinedale Co. Water Dist.
Source: State Water Resources Control Board