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California Water Agencies Want Conservation Requirements Relaxed or Eliminated

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 may not be completely out of the drought, but water agencies around the state told regulators that it’s time to further relax or eliminate emergency water conservation requirements.

In February, the State Water Resources Control Board changed water conservation regulations to account for regional climate differences, population growth and past investments in new water supplies.

Now, water agencies say they want to “self-certify” that they have enough water to meet future demands.

“We’re having increasing difficulty explaining to our customers why when our reservoirs are full, why they have to continue to maintain a 25 percent reduction," says Darlene Gillum with the Rancho Murieta Community Services District. "We would just like the board to consider giving small water agencies the ability to make some adjustments and rely on our ability to assess our own supplies.”

Other agencies say conservation requirements should be rescinded in areas of the state that are experiencing normal precipitation. 

“The Sacramento region clearly is not in any emergency situation now, and continuing to message that is counter-productive frankly," says Rob Roscoe with the Sacramento Suburban Water District.  "We need to have room for our customers to respond to the next drought so we have to get out of the present one when we are out of the present one.”

The state water board will release new proposed regulations by mid-May.