On January 18, California Water Association (CWA) Executive Director Jack Hawks attended the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) public workshop on the extension and potential modification of the Emergency Regulation for Statewide Urban Water Conservation, scheduled to expire at the end of February 2017.

Hawks was quoted in a Sacramento Bee article published immediately after the workshop, “We have customers out there and they’re seeing what’s going on,” said Jack Hawks of the California Water Association, an alliance of local water districts. He said the Yolo Bypass west of Sacramento is so full, “it looks like Lake Michigan.”

Hawks made his comment in the context of the need for the SWRCB to balance its drought policy objectives with the credibility concerns that will accompany an extension of the emergency regulation. Hawks said that while the state won’t know if the drought is over until later in the water year, it is becoming apparent that the drought emergency is over. Hence, the concern of extending an emergency regulation when the emergency has subsided. Several other water district representatives, who testified at the workshop, agreed that the SWRCB “is losing credibility by insisting the drought still exists when residents can see how much conditions have eased.”

The SWRCB staff indicated the Board should keep the Emergency Regulation in place for a few more months to see if drought conditions return. A formal staff recommendation on the extension will be considered by the SWRCB at its February 7, 2017, board meeting.

CWA also submitted a comment letter pertaining to the Emergency Regulation to the SWRCB on January 12, 2017.

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