California regulators released data that show 84 percent of water agencies could provide enough water for the next three years if the drought persisted. That means for the first time in 15 months, those agencies that pass the "stress test" won’t have to abide by mandatory conservation requirements.
The new regulations have come under fire from some environmental groups that claim that some of the data water agencies have submitted is inaccurate.
"This is an exercise where we are expecting the agencies to provide accurate data," says Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager with the State Water Resources Control Board. "There are provisions in the regulations that if someone gave us materially false data we can take enforcement action."
Regulators say even though they’ve lifted top-down restrictions, water agencies don’t have a license to abandon conservation. Thirty-two water suppliers chose to keep mandatory conservation requirements in place.