On April 1, 2015 Governor Brown issued an Executive Order (B-2915) to address the extreme drought conditions in California. He directed the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB, which directly oversees all publicly owned utilities) to impose urban water use restrictions by 25% compared to 2013 and created a proposal for water use restrictions across the state. North Gualala Water Company is privately owned and is therefore under direct control of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The Executive Order requested that the CPUC impose the same restrictions on privately-owned utilities.
On April 9, 2015 CPUC approved Resolution W-5034, ordering all water utilities under its jurisdiction to comply with the SWRCB emergency regulations once they are approved.
The SWRCB’s proposed restrictions would be based on each water company’s 2013 water use. We submitted comments on the proposal to the SWRCB on April 13, 2015 to advocate for our rate payers and their substantial conservation efforts over the last few years–beginning well before 2013–and the restrictions in our existing conservation plans. We made suggestions that would better serve our customers and the State’s goal of reduced water consumption. Our concern was that the State would be putting undue hardship on our already water-conserving community. For example, our residential ratepayers reduced their daily use by 27% between 2008-2013. The proposal initially called for an additional 25% reduction since 2013, which would require our customers to use no more than about 29 gallons daily per person.
On April 18, 2015 the SWRCB released a second draft of its proposal, having taken into account many of the concerns and suggestions from the 250 comments it received. We are pleased to see that the proposal is now more flexible for small suppliers like NGWC. If this proposal is adopted, then NGWC could reduce its district-wide water consumption by 25% relative to our 2013 use or limit outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscape and turf to just two days per week. Because we already have Mandatory and Voluntary Water Conservation Programs in place that meet this latter requirement, our ratepayers would not be burdened by additional restrictions. It is important to remember, however, that the SWRCB restrictions are not yet approved and further changes to the regulation might occur. (Also recall that our Conservation Programs were not imposed due to drought but rather due to water source issues).
Customers will be receiving information about these new state-wide emergency regulations through a variety of means: monthly billing inserts, the Independent Coast Observer newspaper, our Facebook page, and posts on this website. Stay tuned for finalized regulations and how it will affect your household. As always, thank you for conserving!
If you have any questions please feel free to call the office at 707-884-3579.