UPDATE: After an extended session on Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board approved final rules to bring about the 25 percent reduction in water use ordered by Governor Jerry Brown in early April. The statewide water restrictions go into effect on June 1.
"We know we’re not asking people to do things that are easy," said board chair Felicia Marcus right before the unanimous vote.
"But this is the moment to rise to the occasion."
Local water agencies are racing to get programs in place to cut urban water use anywhere from eight to 36 percent, depending on how much water their residents have been using on a per-capita basis.
But the actual savings that cities will have to achieve vary much more widely than that range of state-assigned "tiers" would suggest. Just as important are the savings achieved over roughly the past year.
The Silicon Valley city of Mountain View, for example, has been assigned a savings "tier" of 16 percent; that's the reduction that local water officials will have to attain on on month-by-month basis, starting in June. But since Mountain View has already managed to cut water use by 15 percent, residents there will, in effect, only have to squeeze out another one percent savings to comply with the governor's mandate.