Water Agencies Urged to Enact New Regulations Quickly

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SACRAMENTO-

Representatives for water agencies heard the chair of the state Water Board say that the new water saving regulations it passed on Tuesday had to be put into play quickly.

Felicia Marcus said the summer months are when there is the potential for the most water savings. She appeared at a town hall meeting at a conference of the Association of California Water Agencies.

The challenges for the water purveyors include trying to explain to customers why water rates have gone up to pay for water saving and delivery systems while delivering less water.

"The public shows up and says 'why am I saving water and all you're going to do is raise my rates?'" said Rob Roscoe, general manager of the Sacramento Suburban Water District.

There is some unhappiness with the emergency regulations.

Roscoe said agencies should be given credit for water saving repairs on their systems and for the fact that 40 percent of the water used by Sacramento customers goes back into the Sacramento River to be reused downstream.

Others say conservation efforts won't save enough water and that broader plans for water storage are needed.

"We are in a world of hurt and what is recommended to be done is not going to cut it," said Paul Campbell with the Modesto Irrigation District.

Marcus said long term strategies are important but that it was crucial to create and implement statewide regulations immediately.

"There are nuances and refinements that we're going to want to make but the perfect can be the enemy of the good and right now the good is to save as much water as we can," Marcus said.

Roscoe is part of several working groups that may help to refine the details of the regulations.

"The state board did have a tough job here, but we're hoping that as we form the work groups that they promised to form, we can work through these issues," said Roscoe.

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