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California Regulators Extend Water Conservation Rules; Make Adjustments

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Sprinklers irrigate the field at Kit Carson Middle School, one day after rains swept through the area, in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

California regulators voted to extend water conservation requirements for cities. 

But new rules will allow cities to account for differences in climate, population growth, and past investments in new water supplies.

Cities that made investments before 2013 won’t get credit, and that struck many water agencies as unfair. Rob Roscoe with the Sacramento Suburban Water District says it invested $120 million a decade ago to store groundwater.

“We think the 2013 date is completely arbitrary and indefensible and it should be removed," says Roscoe. "You shouldn’t punish people who got out in front, used not just ratepayer money but state money to drought proof water supplies.”

State Water Resources Control Board member Frances Spivy-Weber says nothing is drought-proof.

“We don’t know what the future is. We don’t know if we have 20 year droughts or 30 year droughts or five year droughts. We just simply don’t know,” says Spivy-Weber.

Click here to see a draft list of how city's conservation targets could change. 

Search for a water agency's name to see if its conservation standard has been changed.

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