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Following complaints, California revamps water use regulations

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – In response to numerous complaints, California regulators Saturday issued a revised plan for the state’s first-ever mandatory water cuts, emphasizing the need for urgent action as summer looms.

The drought, which started in 2012, could persist for years, warned Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board.

“We know we don’t know when it will end,” she said as the board released a revised blueprint for enforcing Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order that Californians by next February reduce urban water use 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.

The board’s changes trimmed conservation targets for some communities with a track record of saving water, while slightly increasing the required cuts for the thirstiest cities.

Water suppliers that recorded the lowest residential per-capita water use in July, August and September of last year will have to cut only 8 percent. They include San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Seal Beach.

Communities with the highest per-capita numbers during that period, including Arcadia and Beverly Hills, have to chop consumption by 36 percent.

Los Angeles and Long Beach, which under the first draft of rules would have had to reduce use by 20 percent, were assigned a lower target of 16 percent.

The emergency proposal could change further before the board formally adopts it early next month, officials said. The state board will begin tracking compliance in July, when June’s use is reported, and will perform monthly checks on the more than 400 urban water suppliers that have to comply with the order.

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