CA investor-owned water utilities stepping up as 'conservation leaders'
In an effort to conserve water amid ongoing drought, investor-owned water utilities in California are continuing to partner with their customers -- and most are responding, according to monthly data on utility water production released by the State Water Resources Control Board.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, July 8, 2015 -- In an effort to conserve water amid ongoing drought, investor-owned water utilities (IOUs) in the state of California are continuing to partner with their customers -- and most are responding, according to monthly data on utility water production released by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board).
Twenty-nine IOU districts were at or above the statewide water conservation rate of 28.9 percent in May compared to the same month in 2013, the data shows. Further, several IOUs were recognized by the State Water Board in a recent press release (here) as "stand out" water utilities that achieved conservation levels above 30 percent. Those recognized included California Water Service-Bakersfield District (37 percent) and San Jose Water Company (36 percent).
"The data shows how much water IOUs are committed to helping their customers conserve and doing their part in complying with the governor's and the State Water Board's statewide water-use reduction policies," said Jack Hawks, executive director of the California Water Association (CWA), which represents regulated water utilities throughout the state.
During the past two months, the 10 largest CWA member utilities have held nearly 100 public meetings with their customers throughout the state to help them understand the new conservation mandates set by the State Water Board (and endorsed by the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state's IOUs), as well as rebates and programs available from water IOUs to help customers conserve.
Hawks noted that CWA's members communicated directly with more than 15,000 customers in the 95 meetings they conducted between mid-May and early July to explain the state's mandated water reduction policies, the penalties associated with prohibited and excessive water use and the utilities' conservation programs.
"It was critical for the utilities to reach out to their customers," Hawks said, "because there is much confusion about and resistance to the state's policies from some customers. However, it is important to note that many customers were supportive of the utilities' efforts to implement the state's policies."