There are many competing needs for this water, with almost half of it now designated for urban and agricultural use. The rest is allocated for managed wetlands, stream and river flow, and maintaining the California Delta ecology.
There are a number of benefits to conserving water, including:
- Less need to develop new water treatment facilities, infrastructure, and new water storage — a process that often causes unfavorable environmental repercussions;
- The maintenance of adequate water levels in rivers, streams, and the Delta for healthy aquatic ecosystems;
- Reduced need to overdraw from groundwater resources, which can be vulnerable to depletion and contamination;
- Reduced energy consumption and greenhouse gas production for water and wastewater development, treatment, and distribution (The California Energy Commission estimated that water-related energy use consumes 19 percent of the state’s electricity, 30 percent of its natural gas, and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel each year).