Utilities ordered to tell customers to save water

Feb 28, 2014 6:26 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Investor-owned water companies in California have been ordered to reduce their water use by 20 percent, officials said Friday.

The California Public Utilities Commission said in a statement issued that the agency had voted Thursday to order investor-owned water companies to request voluntary conservation from customers in order to reduce consumption to the target level.

The companies must notify their customers through a bill insert or through a direct mailing, the CPUC said. If the voluntary measures are not enough, the companies may apply to the commission to activate mandatory rationing.

There 116 investor-owned water utilities and 14 wastewater utilities under the CPUC's jurisdiction.

Jack Hawks, a spokesman for the California Water Association, which represents the interests of the state's water utilities, said the decision was expected and that a number of utilities had already asked customers to conserve.

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