California’s New Permanent Water Regulations Explained
We explain California’s new permanent water regulations, in plain language.
Why it was passed. Its effect on you. Below there is a link to resources that will help you conserve.
And, we squish one ridiculous myth flying around the web!
Freshly signed into law by Governor Brown, the bills now make water conservation “a way of life” in California.
Bills AB 1668 and SB 606 aim to reduce water usage by twenty percent, per capita by December 31, 2020.
- While most of California has not been in a drought this year, there are still sections of Southern California in severe to extreme drought . (approximately 21%)
- Climate research predicts more extreme multi-year droughts as well as severe wet years.*
- Water use has spiked since Governor Brown’s 2017 announcement that the drought was over. Californians are using 18 percent more water — nearly the same amount as before the drought emergency was declared.
*Climate modeling by Climate Scientist Daniel Swain uncovers another trend – drier autumns with a late onset of the rainy season and a corresponding drier spring. Source: published in Nature Climate Change.
Who is affected?
All California residents.
A high probability of future extreme drought conditions and the need to plan for them.
It will motivate agencies to repair old and inefficient infrastructure.
What do I need to know?
The state mandates local water agencies to establish water use targets based on their respective region’s climate, land use and population.
- Indoor water use limit of 55 gallons per person, per day through January 1, 2025.**
- Outdoor water usage standards are not developed yet. (includes landscapes and pools). DWR will study climate and landscapes around the state to determine guidelines.
- Commercial, institutional and industrial standards will be defined by 2021.
**East Bay Municipal Water District website, see link below, has information to help you calculate your own water usage. There’s also a handy table that lists water usage for showers, sinks, washers and other household appliances.
Separating Myth from Fact
You can’t shower and wash clothes on the same day.
Most washers now use only 9 to, at the most, 26 gallons of water.
An average shower for 8 minutes uses 17 gallons of water.
Average per capita = per person.
San Francisco’s average water use is less than 55 gallons per person, per day.
There was a 55-gallon standard set for indoor use set almost 10 years ago.
The 55-gallon limit is more than what is allowed in some countries in Europe.
There are numerous water crises in urban centers all over the world. Water pollution accounts for many of them. Others, a result of extreme drought. In all cases, experts say, poor water management is the reason it became a crisis. Cape Town was expected to run out of water earlier this year, but a last-ditch policy of severe rationing narrowly avoided a catastrophe. The city’s doomsday alarm clock was reset for next year.