Officials with water districts throughout drought-stricken California said Wednesday they support a proposed move to put the agencies in control of conservation after a wet winter eased conditions in some parts of the state. A proposal being considered by the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento would allow local districts to compare their water supplies and demand then set savings goals into January.If the change is made, some districts might set strict conservation goals for residents and businesses, while others could determine it is time to lift conservation mandates altogether. California is in its fifth year of drought. Regulators are considering the new approach after El Nino storms delivered nearly average amounts of rain and snow this winter in Northern California, filling key reservoirs. Beginning next month, districts serving nearly 40 million Californians will compare water supply and demand with the assumption that dry conditions will stretch for three years. The districts would then set savings goals through January and report their calculations to the state.
Her supplier, the Irvine Ranch Water District in Orange County, led the push for a regional approach. Fiona Sanchez, director of water resources for the district, said she is confident that districts statewide will carefully study their supply and demand ratio.Water board officials rejected a proposal for a modest statewide conservation level, saying it contradicted the intent of the plan to empower local districts. Regulators said they maintain the authority to return to strict conservation, if water-saving efforts dramatically slip or if last winter’s rain and snow turns out to be a blip in the easing of the drought.