To the editor: The premise that Californians should be conserving at the same level as 2015 and that anything less is “backsliding” is ill-conceived. The reality is that our water supply picture — especially in Northern California — is not “precarious” as suggested by State Water Board staff. (“Water conservation improved in September but is still worse than in 2015,” Nov. 1)
Conditions improved significantly in 2016, leading the State Water Board to the sound decision to lift mandated conservation for those water suppliers that demonstrated adequate supplies. This allowed local water providers to match their levels of conservation to the reliability of their water supplies. Doing so honors the public’s trust so that customers will again be willing to conserve at heroic levels when it is needed.
Rather than abandoning conservation, Sacramento-area water providers maintained a 23% reduction in water use in 2016 by focusing on helping residents make permanent changes and continuing a downward trend in our region’s water use that began two decades ago.
John Woodling, Citrus Heights, Calif.
The writer is executive director of the Regional Water Authority, which represents Sacramento-area water agencies.