Water suppliers scrambling to meet state targets

As widely expected, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted stringent and unprecedented water-use regulations during its meeting late Tuesday night.

The regulations will take effect immediately upon approval of the Office of Administrative Law and last for 270 days after filing with the Secretary of State. The OLA describes its function as one that “ensures that agency regulations are clear, necessary, legally valid and available to the public.”

Gov. Jerry Brown sought the more stringent regulations, arguing that voluntary conservation efforts have so far not yielded the water savings needed amid a four-year drought. He ordered water agencies to cut urban water use by 25 percent from levels in 2013, the year before he declared a drought emergency.

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Under the new rules, each city is ordered to cut water use by as much as 36 percent compared with 2013. Some local water departments have called the proposal unrealistic and unfair, arguing that achieving steep cuts could cause higher water bills and declining property values, and dissuade projects to develop drought-proof water technology such as desalination and sewage recycling.

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APPLE VALLEY

“The Town understands that Apple Valley Ranchos Water Co., as the largest urban water supplier for our town, is taking any and all steps necessary to comply with the State Water Resources Control Board’s drought regulations,” Town Manager Frank Robinson said. “The town looks forward to working with the company.”

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