Drought Regulations Still in Effect Despite Heavy Rainfall

Apr 1, 2016 8:53 PM by News Staff

Despite record rainfall and major reservoirs nearly filled to the brim, the current practice of water conservation and paying extra for using more water than were supposed to is not going away anytime soon.

We've been dealing with a pretty severe drought here in California for the past several years.

Water cutbacks became mandatory last year.

In Chico, for instance, residents were asked to cut back water usage by 32 percent.

While we had a lot of rain this season, and there's plenty of snowpack but for now, state rules say all of us still need to do what we can to conserve water.

During the worst of California’s recent drought, water use was cut back by about 25 percent across the state. And, even more in much of Butte County.

"Chico has done really well with those reduction targets, the target was 32, at the end of December we were at 39, and right now we're at about 37."

Local Cal Water reps said they now expect the water requirement to go down the 29 percent reduction, pending a look at how much water this winter really brought in.

If the California Public Utilities Commission does modify the water budget restriction might go down in May.

"That would be a really good thing for our customers,” Cal Water District Manager Pete Bonacich said. “It wouldn't be quite an onerous, and affect them as much on their water budgets, they'll be a little bit of forgiveness."

Bonacich said he's confident that with or without mandatory cutbacks, people are becoming more responsible about water conservation..

"I think citizens of California have really come to the realization that a drought can happen, it's real, and i think peoples' mindsets have changed," he said.

Chico residents had mixed feelings on the extended water cutbacks.

"I feel like we should be cautious, because next year there could be a drought again, so it's better to be safe than sorry," one Chico resident said.

"I think it's ridiculous that they're trying to charge us for something they don't need to charge us for,” another proclaimed. “We have plenty of water now, we'll have plenty of water down the road still, and it’s not going to be an issue."

"I think that is fair, when people are in their own moral thinking, I think we should just use the water because we had rain. But they keep using more and more water, we're going to have a drought again- and it's going to come as a shock again."

For now, Californians will have to keep cutting back- or pay a hefty surcharge.

"We need to be careful, and we need to appreciate the fact that there's a limited supply of water and it can affect us, so we really need to value and take care of that resource.”

While the district is pushing to drop cutbacks to 29 percent, residents are encouraged to stay frugal with water for the time being. If the state does modify the budget based on snowpack evaluations,

Any drop in rates will be retroactive for the month of April.


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