California may ease water savings targets in certain regions if the newly proposed planning goes through. State officials announced that the drought-affected state may see a reduction in the tightly respected targets, amounting to 4 percent.
These reductions would apply in hot development regions and the overly hot regions where more water is necessary for maintaining the landscape for instance. In California’s Bay area, it is expected that Silicon Valley will benefit the most from a reduction in water savings targets. Inland areas such as Pleasanton, Brentwood or Concord would also see major benefits is the water savings targets would be reduced. Statewide, it is regions with the hottest climate that would collect the benefits. According to state officials, these are Freson, Palm Springs, Sacramento and Bakersfield.
The proposal to reduce water savings targets comes against the background of El Nino related weather events which are slowly replenishing state reservoirs. However, this is not a time for slacking, California officials say. The proposed reduction is also seen as an answer to California areas which have complained that the water savings targets are unfair.
Max Gomberg, the climate and conservation manager for the California Water Resources Control Board declared that the proposal should be understood as an adjustment mirroring communities concerns. At the same time, state officials must take into account long term planning. The four long years of drought that California has experienced won’t come to an end with this winter’s weather events. Thus, the foreseen reductions in water savings targets are modest.
As California may ease water savings targets in certain regions, water suppliers may receive a reduction of 4 percent maximum compared to state-assigned savings targets. These vary from region to region between 4 and 36 percent. If the proposal is enacted, then the overall water savings target for the state would decreased by 3 percent, from 25 percent to 22 percent.
Water agencies in the hottest regions see the state-imposed water savings targets as unfair to the communities. While failure to ensure the imposed cutbacks is taxed by fines, there are no loopholes allowing water usage for landscape or development projects.
Thus, water agencies and local leaders of communities which are also hotspots for development projects met on the point of the regulations being too tight. New residents in these areas or workers arriving since 2013 are not accounted for some adjustments.
Nonetheless, California state officials and Governor Jerry Brown have been reluctant in reducing the water savings targets. Fearful that the 25 percent reduction goal could be undermined and the negative impacts of the drought could be perpetuated, no proposal for adjustments have been made until now.
Environmental groups still fear that the current proposal suggesting that California may ease water savings targets in certain regions could be sending the wrong message amid the state finding itself in a drought emergency situation.
Photo Credits: Pixabay