On June 4, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger issued an Executive Order (S-06-08) addressing:
1) The current lack of water supply in California
2) The various consequences of this shortage
3) Ways in which state and local government entities will address these concerns.
In part, the Governor ordered the California Department of Water Resources to "coordinate with the California Public Utilities Commission to identify investor-owned water utility systems at risk of experiencing health and safety impacts due to drought conditions and water delivery limitations, and to mitigate such impacts.”
The water utilities regulated by the CPUC provide water to approximately 20 percent of California Residents – approximately 95 percent of that total is served by the Class A water utilities.
In the normal course of business, the CPUC works with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to ensure that the water distributed by regulated water utilities in the state is in compliance with all local, state, and federal health and safety regulations. The CPUC will continue to coordinate with the CDPH to ensure that customers of regulated water utilities receive clean, healthy, and safe water.
With water conservation as one of the main goals of the CPUC's Water Action Plan, the CPUC is currently addressing water conservation rate design (I.07-01-022), which provides economic incentive for customers to conserve, as well as recovery mechanisms that remove the financial disincentives for investor-owned water utilities to institute the water conservation rates. Phase II of this proceeding will address policy issues, including preparation for water shortage events.
The CPUC has prepared instructions for the institution of not only water conservation, but also rationing and service connection moratoria in its Standard Practice U-40-W. The Standard Practice provides instructions to both CPUC staff and water utilities on how to institute a mandatory rationing rule. To date, California American’s Monterey District and Valencia Water already have this rule in their tariffs. The CPUC plans to immediately request that all remaining Class A water utilities institute this rule, processing these requests on an expedited basis.
The CPUC also plans to meet with the California Water Association, which represents many of the regulated water utilities, as well as individually with each Class A water utility, in order to determine the specific water shortage conditions in each service territory and discuss how they should be addressed.
More information on water conservation