Current and Upcoming Water Rules
On April 7, 2017, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17 and rescinded his statewide drought declaration in recognition of the record amount of rainfall and snow throughout California.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.
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 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.
Proposed New State Regulations
California’s new mandate, “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life” is currently being drafted.
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 and 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. There are separate standards being developed for commercial, industrial and agricultural users.
Proposals also include a requirement for the development of a five-year drought plan, including conservation strategies necessary to achieve conservation levels from 10% up to 50% and beyond, in the case of severe droughts.
What does this mean for me?
These regulations will be coming into play over the next several years. Until our water allowance is issued by the state in 2018, we will not know for sure what conservation levels will be necessary. Early indications are that we may well have to conserve in the future as much water as we did during the recent drought.
Although the current drought restrictions have been lifted, we strongly encourage you to:
1. Buy water efficient appliances
2. Install smart irrigation controllers
3. Install bubblers or drip irrigation systems where feasible
4. Reduce grass and convert to less water intensive varieties
5. Use native and drought-tolerant plants
Be prepared for “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life”.
Permanent Water Conservation Ordinance Highlights
• 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 will be focused on voluntary compliance through education, but fines of up to $500 per occurrence will be levied on repeat offenders.
Check our Calendar frequently for the latest workshops and presentations regarding water conservation related issues.
Banner photo courtesy FarOutFlora via Flickr and Creative Commons licensing.