Sacramento, Calif. – Sacramento-area residents reduced water use by 25 percent in 2016 compared to 2013 even without a state mandate to conserve, according to an analysis of water use figures submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the Regional Water Authority (RWA), which represents nearly two dozen water providers in the Sacramento region.
“The savings last year demonstrate that residents are continuing many of the water-wise behaviors adopted during the drought,” said RWA Water Efficiency Program Manager Amy Talbot. “The conservation ethic did not go away with the mandates.”
The State Water Board in May 2016 adopted a new Emergency Regulation that allowed water utilities to set their conservation standard based upon local water supply conditions and the utility’s ability to pass a “stress test” (to meet customer demand in the next three years if drought continued). Local water providers certified that they have adequate supplies to meet customer needs. “However, this was not a signal to stop using water wisely,” Talbot said. “Instead, it recognized that local water providers have planned and invested in building reliable supplies for decades.”
The 25 percent savings in 2016 comes on top of significant water use reductions over the past decade. Overall, the region’s water demands have decreased 9 percent from 2000-13, while population increased 17 percent. The region uses the same amount of water today as it did in 2000 while serving 400,000 more people. And, during the drought, the Sacramento region achieved some of the highest water use reductions in the state.
“Although the Sacramento region is no longer in a drought, we’re encouraging everyone to continue using water wisely,” Talbot said. “Droughts are a part of life in California and remind us that water is precious. Wasting water is foolish, especially when there are so many easy ways to conserve.”
RWA and local water providers are asking residents to turn off sprinkler systems until spring, especially in light of the recent drenching by winter storms. In addition, now’s a great time to consider how to save water indoors by, for example, replacing older fixtures with high-efficiency WaterSense-labeled ones. These include toilets, showerheads, faucets, aerators and weather-based sprinkler timers.