Thomas J. Graff is Senior Counsel at EDF.
AB 2175 would require Californians to cut per capita water use by 20%. As noted in a recent LA Times editorial this is the first serious effort to impose a statewide water conservation target, following up on Governor Schwarzenegger’s promise to cut urban water use by 20% by 2020.
AB 2175 (authors Laird and Feuer and sponsored by NRDC) passed the Assembly last week 48-30. How it will fare in the Senate and, should it get there, on the Governor’s desk, is hard to foresee. If the Times is right and an overall 20% cut would be “painful” for California residents, chances are it will take a while for this concept to be converted into a legal requirement.
But if there’s actually quite a lot of marginal water use in the state and incentives can be lined up so that people’s water bills reflect what water actually costs to deliver in the state (including offsets of the environmental damages caused by water storage and distribution), then we might just find that a 20% cut wouldn’t be so painful after all.
Check out the recent highly-touted Public Policy Institute of California report, Envisioning Futures for the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta, at pages 99 through 128.