Saturday, April 30, 2011

Drought conservation response

At our last Water District Board meeting on April 26th, we had an interesting discussion on the District's call from last year for a voluntary 10% water conservation effort as a "drought conservation response". That request for a drought response is still in effect, despite the fact that everyone acknowledges that the drought is over. District staff brought the matter to the Board, with the recommendation that the drought conservation resolution, set to expire at the end of June, be allowed to expire without renewal.

The Board had three responses. I said that the District should encourage conservation for general reasons but should also signal when special efforts are needed during droughts. That meant signalling when the drought ended, and since it's already ended, we should repeal the drought resolution as soon as practicable.

Director Lezotte said we shouldn't let the conservation resolution expire, at all. Her approach is that our conservation needs are so great that the conservation effort should basically be always increasing, instead of relaxing. I can see her point, and I agree with her to the extent we're discussing efforts unrelated to droughts, but as to droughts, I think we should clearly signal when a need for special conservation begins, and to maintain credibility then we should clearly signal when that need ends.

The remaining Board members didn't agree with either of us, and simply voted to let the drought resolution expire. I joined their position when mine failed to get support, but I don't see why it's preferable to wait an extra two months after a drought has expired to officially take note of the expiration.

I do hope though that when it expires, we have a replacement resolution that emphasizes the need for non-drought related conservation.

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