California Water Restrictions On the Horizon with AB1668 and SB606

California water restrictions, drought

(Sacramento, Ca) Jerry Brown signed aggressive water legislation in the form of AB 1668 and SB 606 which set guidelines that water agencies in California must follow. While Governor Brown declared California no longer under a drought, the measures seek to have both citizens and agencies comply with more restrictive guidelines designed to conserve water.

Water agencies are targeting goals which are to have customers limit indoor water use to an average of 55 gallons a day, per person, declining to 50 gallons by the year 2030. These goals are requested to each water district.

The state regulators are consulting with local water agencies in order to set limits on outdoor water use for things such as watering lawns, swimming pools, as water used outdoors is the bulk of the water used by consumers.

Each district will have set standards for their customer base, based on the guidelines, so those living in dryer areas will have the ability to use more water than those in damper, cooler climates.

The new rules also detail how water providers can repair their infrastructure, which is responsible for the loss of millions of gallons of water, statewide.

The overall goal behind the legislation is that the new indoor and outdoor standards will make water systems across the state more efficient and will be built into utility’s “water budget”.

Max Gomberg, climate and conservation manager at the State Water Resources Control Board, stated, “The only thing the water supplier is going to be measured on is, ‘Are they within budget?'”

The measures set goals for water use across a district, which is set on an average per person water use.

Those water agencies that do not meet the goals could face fines of up to $1,000 per day; the governor has the power to increase that fine during times of drought.

Keep in mind, it is the water agencies, not the consumer, who will be fined, but a water district is able to pass those costs onto the consumer to their individual water bill.

The Alliance for Water Efficiency states that the goal of 55 – and then eventually 50 – is not hard to meet, and declares that by replacing older model washing machines and toilets, will reduce the amount of water used.

AB 1668, authored by Laura Friedman (D- Glendale), forces the state to achieve a 20% reduction in urban water use by 2020. Water suppliers must develop urban water use targets.

State Water Resource Control Board, with the Dept of Water Resources, will adopt long-term standards for the efficient use of water, and will adopt performance measures for commercial, industrial and institutional water use by 2022. Both agencies are required to conduct studies/investigations, with their recommendations no later than 10/1/2021, in order for them to jointly make recommendations to the Legislature, a standard for indoor residential use.

SB 606 is focused on Urban water use and authorizes the board to issue written notices and conservation orders to an urban water supplier not meeting its water use objectives. The bill imposes civil liability for a violation of these orders and could require a wholesale water supplier, distributor of public water to provide a monthly report relating to water production, water use, or water conservation.

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