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The Drought's Over -- New Water Conservation Mandates Coming

NP Drought yard LR

 Low water yard in Thousand Oaks
Governor Brown declares statewide drought over and issues new water conservation mandates.
On April 7, 2017, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17 and rescinded his statewide drought declaration in recognition of the record amount of rainfall and snow throughout California. In response to the Governor’s Order, the City Council eliminated the Level One water restrictions at the May 30, 2017, City Council meeting and returned to our Permanent Water Conservation Measures.

Check your water agency for their requirements
The City water agency is encouraging everyone to continue to do his or her part in using water efficiently. California Water Service is asking their customers to meet a voluntary 10% water conservation goal and California American Water will be continuing with watering restrictions. Please contact your agency for their specific requirements or click on the links above to check out their conservation pages.

New water regulations and water budgets
With future droughts anticipated to be more common, California is preparing for new regulations entitled “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life”.

The Governor in his Order noted that “our changing climate requires California to continue to adopt and adhere to permanent changes to use water more wisely and to prepare for more frequent and persistent periods of limited water supply” … and “increasing long-term water conservation among Californians, improving water use efficiency within the State’s communities and agricultural productions, and strengthening local and regional drought planning are critical to California’s resilience to drought and climate change.”

The State Water Board has recommended that each water agency potentially be given a water budget based on the population served and the irrigated landscape areas.

Early indications are that we may well have to conserve as much water in the future as we did during the recent drought. The drought was severe and it will take many years to recharge groundwater basins and for vegetation and trees to fully recover. Future droughts are anticipated to be more common. It will be our responsibility to plan for the long term and to meet stronger, permanent conservation standards expected from the State in 2018.

Although the current drought restrictions have been lifted, we strongly encourage you to continue:

  1. Buying water efficient appliances
  2. Installing smart irrigation controllers
  3. Installing bubblers or drip irrigation systems where feasible (Check out the blog on classes from the master gardeners on irrigation – free $60 irrigation kit with class)
  4. Reducing grass and convert to less water intensive varieties
  5. Using native and drought tolerant plants

Permanent Water Conservation Ordinance

  • Outdoor irrigation prohibited between 9 am – 5 pm.
  • Outdoor irrigation limited to 15 minutes per station (exceptions for low volume systems)
  • No watering during or 48 hours after any rain.
  • No excessive runoff.
  • No washing down of hard or paved surfaces.
  • Leaks must be fixed within seven days.

Enforcement is focused on voluntary compliance through education, but fines of up to $500 per occurrence will be levied on repeat offenders.

Visit www.toaks.org/savewater for additional information. 

If you have completed a lawn conversion to a drought tolerant, butterfly or bee friendly, native plant or other water conserving landscape, please share a couple of pictures with us. Please tell us what you did, how long ago and any additional benefits from the change. We want to put a page on the website for people to get ideas for the future. For instance, the family in the house above have reduced their landscape maintenance costs and they have more neighbors stopping to talk with them as they sit in the little patio area in the evenings. Please email your pictures to gogreen@toaks.org.

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