Water Use Efficiency

Making Water Efficiency a Way of Life


water-presserInvestor-owned water companies are active community stewards that promote water efficiency and environmentally sound business practices.

They are fully engaged in comprehensive, ongoing conservation programs with their customers, as outlined in the California Public Utility Commission’s 2010 Water Action Plan, which identifies water efficiency as a top priority.

The state’s largest investor-owned water utilities (water IOUs) have signed memorandums of understanding with the California Urban Water Conservation Council, committing to implement their best management practices for water conservation and water use efficiency. And they are well on their way to meeting California’s mandate to reduce per capita urban water use 20 percent by 2020.

Their incentive programs help customers use water efficiently and are among the best in the state. They include:

  • Audits by and Consultations with trained water efficiency experts who offer tailored information on how customers can use less water at home or work.
  • Rebates for installing high-efficiency toilets and clothes washers, upgrading water-wasting sprinklers and controllers and replacing thirsty lawn with beautiful low-water use plants.
  • Education through workshops and events, informational materials, outreach to schools and water-wise demonstration gardens.

Responding to Drought

In addition to long-term efforts to reduce water use, water IOUs are partnering with customers to conserve water as California experiences a fourth year of unprecedented drought conditions.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) passed two resolutions–Resolution W-5034 on April 9, 2015, and Resolution W-5041 on May 7, 2015–mandating water IOUs to comply with the governor’s Executive Order to reduce water use by 25 percent statewide and conservation targets set by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).

According to the CPUC press release announcing compliance with the governor’s mandate, the larger water investor-owned water utilities (IOUs) must take steps to ensure that their respective water-use reduction targets can be achieved. Smaller IOUs with districts having less than 3,000 service connections must reduce water use by 25 percent by restricting outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week or implement other mandatory restrictions to achieve the necessary water savings.

In 2014, water IOUs made significant conservation progress, according to a CWA analysis of water production figures reported to the SWRCB. Many IOU districts have been consistently at or above the state average for water conservation.

In 2015, IOUs are continuing to lead the way as water agencies statewide respond to the drought and mandated water reductions. A video highlighting outreach efforts by IOUs is available here on CWA’s YouTube channel.