Conservation Scorecard: Understanding the Scorecard


Elements of the Scorecard Lessons learned; changes for the future
Member Reporting Unit — Only retail members of CUWCC are included in this Scorecard. A wholesale agency scorecard will be available soon. CUWCC membership constitutes approximately about a quarter of the water providers in California. CUWCC membership is voluntary, with the exception of urban water agencies that have federal Central Valley Project (CVP) contracts which require compliance with the CUWCC BMPs.
MOU Date — Agencies signed the CUWCC MOU on this date. Pre-1997 agencies committed to full compliance by 2007.
BMP 1-14 — Best Management Practices (BMP) 1-14 were established in 1991, revised in 1997, and are continually refined over time. For definitions, see the California Urban Water Conservation Council's Exhibit 1 or see background source data and more complete descriptions for the Scorecard. The symbol key is:
Performing Performing
Not on Track
Not Reporting
Not on Track
Not Reporting
Exemption / ALAEA Exemption / ALAEA
Note that BMPs 1, 5, 9, and 13 have notably low levels of compliance relative to the others (read vertically). This is unfortunate, since these BMPs are three of the four major quantifiable BMPs in the list of 14 and are the highest water savers. Some of this under-compliance may be due to an imperfectly structured BMP. But with that caveat, many of the leading water agencies were still able to be in compliance, and many others are in partial compliance.
  • Performing  Indicates that the agency has fully implemented the BMP

  • Partial  Not in compliance, but substantial effort being made

  • Not on Track  Minimal or no effort is reported to comply with BMP

  • Not Reporting  Report was not filed

  • Exemption / ALAEA  An exemption for cost/benefit, legal, or budgetary constraints, or ALAEA (a program is implemented which is "at least as effective as" the BMP requirement).

The voluntary compliance approach has not been compelling. What factors can change this and bring BMP compliance more to the forefront?
GPCD_Res — Indicates residential gallons per capita per day = total residential deliveries divided by population. GPCD by sector (here residential) may be a useful metric in horizontal comparisons of water agencies, though varying climatic regions, supply mix and source will need to be considered.
GPCD_Res + CII — Indicates gallons per capita per day = entire agency deliveries divided by population. GPCD by total agency delivery has been adopted by several states, and is used by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Shading: The Color Scheme

Red: Columns BMP 1-14

Cells are highlighted red when the water agency is not in compliance as described in the BMP definition. More details on level of non-compliance and criteria are available on the Source Data page or at the CUWCC web site.

Red shading simply means that the water agency is not in compliance with the BMP, and has not fulfilled the voluntary commitment it made by signing the CUWCC MOU. By signing the MOU, agencies make it their policy to come into compliance by the ramping schedule provided in the MOU; extenuating circumstances can be addressed by either an Exemption or an ALAEA (yellow). Agencies should be able to meet their own voluntary policy commitments. Red shading indicates conservation potential, where BMP compliance should result in more saved water.

Yellow: Columns BMP 1-14

Applies to BMP 1-14 where the water agency has claimed either an "exemption" (legal, cost effectiveness) or is implementing an "at least as effective as" (ALAEA) alternative to the specified best management practice. No verification is required for either "exemption" or "ALAEA" claims, although the reporting web site does report if documentation is provided for an exemption application. In addition, a water agency may provide an explanation of their ALEA program in a text box.

Yellow shading is a cautionary color, and here "exemption" and "ALAEA" claims are made by signatories with minimal requirements for substantiation. A claim is made by checking a box on the report with a text box provided for comment. A higher standard of reporting is being required by CUWCC starting in 2008, but there will still not be clear criteria or verification of self-declared claims for legal, cost/benefit, or budgetary exemption, or ALAEA.

Red: Last Three Columns

At the bottom of the last three columns, consumption by agencies is averaged; red shading in each column is applied to consumption numbers where agencies are using more than the state average.

In each metric, there is wide variation in usage with broad geographic distribution. Additional information on the use of these metrics is on the Source Data page.

Blank cells

In the last three columns, if the cell is blank there was either no data provided by the water utility, or inconsistent reporting by the water utility.

Good data is the basis for understanding and good decision-making. Consistent protocols and full reporting are necessary and should be required of all water purveyors.

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