As the worst drought in California’s recorded history fades from memory, and mandatory water conservation cutbacks become a thing of the past, California water agencies are left to grapple with the question: What do they do now?

About 80 representatives of Inland Empire water agencies gathered at a symposium at the Chino Basin Water Conservation District (Chino Basin) headquarters in Montclair on June 29 to discuss that and many other topics, ranging from climate change to wastewater recycling to desalination. Not least among the topics was rates, and how to pay for new technologies to ensure a safe, sustainable water supply for the future.

California residents responded well to Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory cutbacks in 2015, cutting their water use by an average of 24 percent from 2013 levels, nearly meeting the goal of 25 percent, according to speaker Erik Ekdahl of the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board). And the trend is continuing: California water use is tracking 20 percent less so far in 2017, compared with the same period in 2013.

But Ekdahl warned that climate change likely will bring “longer, more severe droughts.” He added…