Local water agencies are getting their wish from the state.
"The state water board for the first time ever is taking local water supply into consideration," says Ashley Metzger, Desert Water Agency’s conservation manager.
Some water agencies in the valley had water cutback mandates of up to 36 percent and that was proving difficult for desert residents to meet.
After water agencies in the valley had to submitted data to the State Water Resources Control Board proving the desert’s aquifers were healthy, meaning ground water supply is plentiful, the board lifted the strict water mandates.
"Which is why you’re see our targets here ease up because we have a very healthy supply … and now the mandatory standards don’t exist," says Metzger.
But while they are loosening up cutbacks, some state rules do still apply:
-Hosing off hardscapes like driveways and sidewalks
– Washing cars with hoses not equipped with shut off nozzles
– Using non re-circulating water in fountains or water features
– Watering lawns causing runoff or 48 hours after significant rainfall
– Irrigating turf on public street medians
And in addition to that each water agency has their own rules:
Desert Water Agency customers can now water on the weekends through the end of October but like on the other days, before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m..
Coachella Valley Water District lifted their penalties.
Indio Water Authority customers can now water seven days a week but only before 6 a.m. and after 6 p.m..
And while water agencies are proud of the water conditions in the valley, they say this took years of planning and conservation.
"We’re thrilled to see that the local conditions and the investments that our communities have made for decades are paying off," says Metzger.
And stress those efforts must continue because the drought has not eased up.
"We’re still recovering from a five year drought with some of the hottest, driest years on record … valley residents need to continue saving water." warns Metzger.
Patrick Masterson, a DWA customer says his landscaping is benefiting from the eased up restrictions, "It’s been really tough on the plants the original restrictions, grass was pretty brown, a lot of the plants were, stressed out too, I think the extra weekend days they’ve given us now have helped a lot."
Coachella valley water district customers saved 9.5 billion gallons since of water since June of last year. Californians saved 1.4 million acre feet of water from June 2015 – April 2016.
Water agencies say they still want people to conserve because and don’t want to lose the progress made by people who got out of wasteful ways and became water wise.