Friday, March 27, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California can’t say if it’s meeting drought goal

California Drought State Agencies

In this photo taken Tuesday, July 8, 2014, a sign alerts visitors to water conservation efforts at the state Capitol, in Sacramento, Calif. The Department of General Services, which oversees care of the Capitol, has reduced lawn watering and turned off fountains in the park.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

By
From page A6 | July 27, 2014 |

LOS ANGELES — The sprinklers outside the California’s state Capitol are off and the lawn is withering, the lemon- and cucumber-infused “water stations” at the state pension building are gone, and prison inmates are taking shorter showers while campers at some popular parks can’t take them at all.

In ways big and small, the state government is conserving water to try to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s request that everyone – from residents to businesses to state agencies – reduce their use by 20 percent.

Still, six months after Brown declared a water emergency, few state agencies know whether their conservation efforts are meeting the mark. They are not required to compare water consumption this year to last, and few have, The Associated Press found.

The AP asked the 11 agencies or departments that use the most water how their consumption over the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2013.

Only four could provide comprehensive data for water use in buildings they manage, in some cases taking several weeks to produce the information. Others pulled a smattering of utility bills from a few sites only after being contacted – data they acknowledged was not sufficient to gauge the effectiveness of conservation efforts.

One of the largest water users, the California Department of Transportation, provided 2014 data for water accounts in four cities and one county, and couldn’t provide any 2013 numbers. The agency has more than 7,500 accounts.

“Obviously, we have quite a bit more data to review,” spokesman Mark Dinger emailed.

The agency believes it will meet or exceed the governor’s target, Dinger said.

The lack of accounting by Caltrans and other agencies is another example of how the state is struggling to keep track of water use. A recent AP story detailed how state regulators do not know how many trillions of gallons have been diverted by corporations, agricultural concerns and others that have “senior water rights” entitling them to free water.

With California in the grip of its worst drought in a generation, Brown declared an emergency on Jan. 17 and asked residents and agencies to trim usage. There is no penalty for failure to comply.

Meanwhile, residents can face fines from local authorities for wasting water.

The State Water Resources Control Board, frustrated that consumption statewide increased 1 percent in May from a year ago, voted this month to impose fines up to $500 a day for wasteful outdoor water use such as excessive lawn watering and sidewalk washing.

Tracking water usage across the state’s sprawling government is not like checking a residential utility bill, state officials said.

With thousands of accounts billed at various times and utilities measuring consumption in various ways, the task of compiling data has proven complex, said Brian Ferguson, spokesman for the Department of General Services, which is helping coordinate the state’s drought response.

“There’s not just an iPad app we can turn on to do this,” Ferguson said.

Under a 2012 executive order, by March 1, state agencies were supposed to have cataloged site-by-site water use from 2013 in a central database. That data entry fell behind schedule, but is nearly complete, Ferguson said.

Neither that executive order nor Brown’s emergency declaration required agencies to track 2014 usage in real time, he said. The 2014 analysis doesn’t need to happen until early 2015.

“That’s a lame excuse,” said state Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. He agreed that calculating usage across larger state agencies is a chore, but said it should be done in real time and the fact that it hasn’t is “another example of a broken government.”

Other than saying in a written statement that “more aggressive action will be needed” to save water, Brown’s office referred questions to the Department of General Services – which said the available data suggest state agencies are working hard to meet Brown’s goal.

Four of the 11 agencies were able to provide water usage totals for all major facilities they own during the first half of both years. According to AP’s analysis of those data:

• The Department of State Hospitals, with five campuses that provide mental health care to about 5,600 patients at any given time, trimmed water use by 18 percent, to 139 million gallons in 2014. The conservation rate increased as the year went on.

• Water use dropped by 21 percent, to 99 million gallons, at the four Department of Developmental Services’ facilities where 1,200 people with developmental disabilities live.

• The Department of Veterans Affairs cut use 11 percent, to 82 million gallons at eight veterans’ residences plus headquarters and a cemetery.

• The Employment Development Department, which provides unemployment insurance and collects payroll taxes, used more than 4.5 million gallons in 2014, a 32 percent drop. The agency said it could provide data for 26 facilities, not including 158 sites it leases or occupies in buildings run by another state agency.

In addition, two provided data for all facilities but a limited timeframe. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sent 2014 usage data for all 34 state prisons, but only for one month in 2013. Data from Cal Expo, the fair and event space in Sacramento, did not cover the first two-plus months of each year.

The remaining agencies provided just a snapshot of use from a small fraction of their sites. They were: Caltrans; the California Highway Patrol; and the departments of General Services, Water Resources and Parks and Recreation.

Several agencies said conservation would have been greater but for one-time construction projects. Some pointed out that new cuts can be a challenge because prior efforts already eliminated some water waste.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Everyday life inspires model’s music

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Hosting gig for comic, birthday party on weekend schedule

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    Brasher new president, CEO of Jelly Belly

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

    Rio Vista singer ready for Rancho Cordova show

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
     
     
    Spring Fling set to return to Rancho Solano

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Kids fishing day events return

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Fairfield police log: March 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun police log: March 25, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Co-pilot believed to have purposefully crashed plane

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Lawyers dispute hoax claim, boyfriend says he was drugged

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    L.A. river revamp to cost double previous projections

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    State to alter ban on where sex offenders can live

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Governor awaits $1B drought relief bill

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    US drops graphic leaflet to possible Islamic State recruits

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    AP Exclusive: Special ops troops using flawed intel software

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Talent agency wants Matt McConaughey speaking fee secret

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Grateful Oklahomans salvage belongings after killer storm

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    US: Chicago-area cousins planned US terrorist attack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Report: Teen says mom killed her siblings found in freezer

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    House OKs bipartisan Medicare doctor bill; fate up to Senate

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

    Tunisians assure Star Wars sets safe from Islamic State

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    US Thunderbolt II attack planes on training in Poland

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Syrian government shells kill 18 in south, activists say

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    Turmoil in Yemen escalates as Saudi Arabia bombs rebels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Russian, American ready for a year in space

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: March 27, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: March 27, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: March 27, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    Parents may be enabling son’s drinking and hurting his employment chances

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    Week in preview March 27 to April 3, 2015

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

     
    ‘Downton Abbey’ to end after upcoming 6th season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    With ‘Downton Abbey’s coming demise, here are 5 past deaths

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Ken Burns unravels the mysteries of cancer in PBS film

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Review: Animated alien adventure ‘Home’ lands with a thud

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Entertainment Calendar: March 27, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Sports

    Marleau, Niemi lead Sharks past Red Wings 6-4

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    Warriors can match franchise record for wins at Memphis

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

    Prep swimming preview: City teams look to make big splash

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    Notre Dame races by Wichita State 81-70 for Elite Eight spot

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Kentucky overwhelms West Virginia 78-39 in NCAA Sweet 16

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    San Diego city, county join forces on bid to keep NFL

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Labor, developers reach deal on proposed Inglewood stadium

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Italians will pull out of America’s Cup if boats downsized

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Fiancee of Aaron Hernandez to be called to testify Friday

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Stanford’s VanDerveer, Notre Dame’s McGraw to face off

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Former Germany coach Berti Vogts joins Klinsmann’s US staff

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    Officials OK demolishing Irwindale Speedway for outlet mall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Signups for Friday, March 27, 2015

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B8

     
    Sharks sign 2 college players

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Top-seeded Wisconsin hangs to beat North Carolina 79-72

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    49ers waive OL Jonathan Martin after 1 season with team

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    This date in sports history for March 27, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    Mirim Lee leads LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    Charley Hoffman takes PGA lead in wind-swept Texas Open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Business

    Range Rover offers an exclusivity that’s rich with irony

    By The Washington Post | From Page: C1

     
    Google’s new CFO gets $70M for defecting from Morgan Stanley

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Bankruptcy hearing could decide fate of RadioShack

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    Microsoft wants US suppliers to give employees paid time off

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Lawmakers unhappy with new fracking rules

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

     
    Authorities go after crooked car deals in national crackdown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    Oil prices jump almost 5 percent as tensions mount in Yemen

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

     
    New Samsung, HTC phones coming April 10 in US

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9