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ACWA Comments on Lifting of Drought Emergency, Final Framework on Long-Term Conservation

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - April 07, 2017) - Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Executive Director Timothy Quinn issued the following statement today regarding action by Gov. Jerry Brown to lift the drought emergency declaration for most of the state and the release of a final framework report by state agencies on long-term water conservation measures.

"We are glad to see the governor's action today to lift the drought emergency declaration for most of the state. The statewide emergency clearly is over, but it makes sense to continue to assist areas where emergency drinking water projects are still needed in hard-hit areas. We also understand the need for continued water waste prohibitions and reporting requirements as a 'bridge' to permanent measures under the long-term conservation framework issued in final form today.

"While the emergency has largely ended, that doesn't mean we are letting our guard down when it comes to using water efficiently on an ongoing basis. Local water agencies are committed to conservation and long-term water-use efficiency as a way of life, and they have not waited for this moment to take action. They are actively investing in programs, education and incentives to help their customers adopt sustainable practices and make changes that result in permanent water savings.

"We continue to review the final long-term conservation framework, and support the general approach of working with local agencies to establish individual conservation targets as we have advocated. We also continue to support a planning-based process for agricultural conservation that recognizes local groundwater management responsibilities and diverse local drought management needs.

"Many details will emerge in follow-up legislation and regulatory proposals in the coming weeks. We intend to be an active part of the process. While we support these important goals, we object to using the budget trailer bill process to implement the framework. ACWA strongly believes important statutory changes such as these must be considered in the transparent, deliberative process used for policy bills -- not in the expedited, less transparent budget trailer bill process.

"We stand ready to assist with implementing an approach that is workable for water agencies and their customers, and look forward to ensuring that conservation and water-use efficiency move forward as essential elements of the California Water Action Plan.

"Californians stepped up in a major way in response to the drought and the emergency conservation regulation. We've seen a tremendous shift in the way the public thinks about and uses water, and we are confident that will continue with the ongoing efforts by local water agencies and the statewide Save Our Water program."

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 430+ members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com. ACWA also manages Save Our Water -- the state's official water conservation outreach program -- in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources. More information is at www.saveourwater.com.