Politics & Water Policy

This article from the Sacramento Bee makes a good implied case that the two shouldn’t be mixed.

An excerpt.

Water providers from throughout the Sacramento region will urge the State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday to release their customers from emergency conservation targets as local water supplies recover from drought.

In their place, we will continue local programs to encourage ongoing improvements in water efficiency.

Many have expressed strong opinions that California’s drought is not over, but they haven’t offered a clear way to know when it is. While the drought may not be at an end everywhere in the state, any reasonable measure would suggest that the emergency has fully abated for the Sacramento region.

The region was among the first affected by the drought in late 2013. As Folsom Lake dropped to historic lows, local suppliers pledged to reduce water use by 20 percent, before the governor declared a drought emergency. Local residents reduced water use by 19 percent in 2014 while other parts of the state lagged. The region cut water use 31 percent from June 2015 to February 2016, contributing to the mandatory statewide 25 percent goal.

Now, Folsom Lake is well above average, as are Shasta and Oroville. Flood releases coursed down the American River through much of March, significant snowpack remains in the Sierra and local groundwater basins are refilling.

Since the Sacramento region is among the first to recover, it makes sense for the water board to ease mandatory conservation here first as well, eliminating enforced rationing for areas with ample water supplies.

Continuing emergency conservation in the region will not help the environment or others in the state. Federal and state restrictions virtually preclude transferring conserved water to those who need it south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta during much of the year.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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