SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Gov. Jerry Brown may have declared California’s drought emergency over, but he left some conservation measures in place that some water districts say still go too far.
State water managers are celebrating the end of the drought.
“We knew this day would come, but we wanted to make sure we got it right,” said Felicia Marcus with the State Water Resources Control Board.
Wasteful watering is still banned, but mandatory conservation is no longer in effect. Instead, it’s been replaced with a new statewide water-efficiency plan.
“The state actually has a 20 percent target for 2020,” said Kamyar Guivetchi. “Most water suppliers have exceeded that amount.”
The San Juan Water District in Granite Bay had some of the toughest restrictions placed on it during the drought. General Manager Paul Heliker says he’s happy the governor finally declared the drought emergency over.
“As you can see, it’s pouring outside, so I’m glad he’s finally come to that conclusion,” he said.
The district had declared its drought over last month, and it’s among several water districts concerned that the state’s new water plan is still too tough.
“The current version that we saw today does have some problems in it,” he said.
The proposal has 13 requirements including setting statewide conservation targets, mandating monthly water usage reports, and requiring water shortage contingency plans.
The district is concerned the new rules could lead to rationing even if sufficient water supplies exist.
“What we’re objecting to is the fact that we’re not going through a deliberative process to do this, and it’s a one-size-fits-all strategy,” he said.
State water officials hope the lessons learned from the recent drought will lead to people permanently changing wasteful water habits.
“We can’t go back to thinking that water just comes out of the tap,” Marcus said.
The proposed conservation plan still needs to be passed by the legislatures and signed by Brown before taking effect.