California’s new water conservation plan focuses on cities

by Ellen Knickmeyer and Scott smith, originally posted on December 1, 2016


FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – California officials crafting a new conservation plan for the state’s dry future drew criticism from environmentalists on Thursday for failing to require more cutbacks of farmers, who use 80 percent of the water consumed by people.

Gov. Jerry Brown ordered up the state plans for improving long-term conservation in May, when he lifted a statewide mandate put in place at the height of California’s drought for 25-percent water conservation by cities and towns.

Ben Chou, a water-policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, criticized state planners for not mandating any new water-savings by farm water districts.

“There’s been a huge difference all along in what urban water districts have been required to do and what ag water districts are required to do” regarding conservation, Chou said.

Under the governor’s order, state agencies this week released the plan for a long-term water diet for California. They anticipate climate change to cause the Sierra Nevada snowpack – one of California’s largest sources of water – to decline by half by the end of the century.

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