waterdrop

By Suzanne Hurt, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 08/16/16 – 10:14 PM PDT |

California water suppliers have painted a glowing picture of their ability to supply customers even if they get three more dry years — and state water officials said Tuesday they have no plans to investigate those claims.

Despite previous vows of close monitoring, State Water Resources Control Board leaders said they expect independent researchers — such as environmental groups, journalists and other members of the public — to scrutinize water suppliers’ data that the board posted online Tuesday.

The data shows 33 Inland water suppliers are among the majority of suppliers now declaring they’ll have enough water to meet demand. They projected no shortfalls and set their conservation standards at “0” percent.

Only 36 water suppliers — three in the Inland region — out of 379 statewide that submitted data to support their projections believe they could have a water shortage by the end of 2019, leading them to call for conservation efforts equal to those shortages.

During a media conference call Tuesday, water board officials in Sacramento said they believe the agencies provided accurate information.

The board’s enforcement office won’t look into the claims unless outside research indicates something clearly erroneous, said Max Gomberg, the board’s climate and conservation manager.

“We’re not going to go looking under rocks to see if they were fudging,” said Gomberg.

On Aug. 2, state water officials had vowed to inspect suppliers’ claims and supporting data.

Water suppliers were required to set their own water conservation goals, based on their assessments of what their three-year water supply will be if drought continues. They also had to submit “stress test” reports documenting those assessments to the state by 5 p.m. June 22.

After a nearly two-month delay, the board released the amounts individual water agencies are asking customers to conserve for the rest of 2016. The self-certified water savings standards were posted online Tuesday morning during a State Water Resources Control Board meeting.

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