Sonora, CA – A Mother Lode water district is among 12 urban water suppliers called out by state officials for noteworthy conservation efforts as the drought continues.
Of over 400 water suppliers reporting water data to the state, Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) and 11 others with a conservation standard of 24 percent or higher exceeded their benchmarks by more than ten percent from this past June through October, the five-month period after which Governor Jerry Brown enacted drought-related emergency conservation regulations tagged with a 25 percent water savings mandate.
The water board also reported that, although statewide water savings were slightly down for the month of October due to warmer than normal temperatures, residents reduced water use by just over 27 percent since June. Across the state, conservation averaged just over 22 percent, down more than four percent from September.
TUD has managed 36 percent in cumulative water savings over the past five months, compared to the same time during the comparison year of 2013. Its October conservation came in just a tick under 26 percent. Groveland Community Services District (GCSD), which has a similar standard, reported over 33 percent in cumulative savings and just over 21 percent for the month of October. Calaveras County Water District (CCWD), which must maintain a 16 percent standard, came in at over 33 percent in cumulative savings and just over 21 percent for October.
State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus notes that October is generally a month when outdoor water use – and the opportunity for significant savings – typically drops off from the hot summer months. Adding to the challenge, Marcus remarks, “October brought temperatures that were well above normal for most of the state. We anticipated a dip…but it is not because people are losing interest — they actually did quite well, considering how unusually hot it was.” She adds, as during the fall and winter months there is already less outdoor watering, finding other ways to save is key to dealing with the state’s ongoing severe drought, regardless of whether El Nino storms bring significant precipitation.
The board has set Dec. 7 for a public workshop in response to an executive order issued by the governor last month, giving it authority to extend and revise the emergency water conservation regulations that are otherwise set to expire in February. Coming up on Dec. 15 is the deadline for the state’s smaller water suppliers — those that serve 3,000 or fewer customers and exempt from monthly reports — to submit a single accounting of their water use.