Making Water Conservation a Way of Life
Regulated water utilities are active community stewards that promote water efficiency and environmentally sound business practices.
They are fully engaged in comprehensive, ongoing conservation programs with their customers, as outlined in the California Public Utility Commission’s 2010 Water Action Plan, which identifies water efficiency as a top priority.
Regulated water utilities are committed to implementing best practices for water conservation and water use efficiency and are well on their way to meeting California’s mandate to reduce per capita urban water use 20 percent by 2020.
Their incentive programs help customers use water conservation and are among the best in the state. They include:
- Audits by and consultations with trained water efficiency experts who offer tailored information on how customers can use less water at home or work.
- Rebates for installing high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers, upgrading water-wasting sprinklers and controllers and replacing thirsty lawn with beautiful low-water use plants.
- Education through workshops and events, informational materials, outreach to schools and water-wise demonstration gardens.
Responding to Drought
In addition to long-term efforts to reduce water use, regulated water utilities partnered with customers to conserve water during California’s historic drought.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) passed two resolutions–Resolution W-5034 on April 9, 2015, and Resolution W-5041 on May 7, 2015–mandating regulated water utilities to comply with the governor’s Executive Order to reduce water use by 25 percent statewide and conservation targets set by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).
The larger regulated water utilities were required to take steps to ensure that their respective water-use reduction targets could be achieved. Smaller IOUs with districts having less than 3,000 service connections were required to reduce water use by 25 percent by restricting outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week or implement other mandatory restrictions to achieve the necessary water savings.
In 2014, regulated water utilities made significant conservation progress, according to a CWA analysis of water production figures reported to the SWRCB. Many districts were consistently at or above the state average for water conservation.
In 2015, regulated water utilities continued to lead the way as water agencies statewide responded to the drought and mandated water reductions. A video highlighting outreach efforts by regulated water utilities is available here on CWA’s YouTube channel.