In May 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) adopted an emergency regulation replacing the previous percentage reduction-based standard. This new regulation uses a “stress test” approach that requires local water agencies identify sufficient water supplies to get through at least three more years of drought.
All of our local water agencies have passed the test are no longer subject to state-imposed mandatory conservation targets. As a result, all of the water retailers (Los Angeles County Waterworks District No. 36 (Val Verde), Newhall County Water District, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company) have lifted their watering day restrictions.
While we no longer have to meet state imposed targets, we must meet a state-mandated 20 percent reduction in per capita water use by 2020 – a requirement that was enacted by state legislation (SBx7-7) in 2009, predating the current drought. Our local water agencies have met the state benchmark for progress: 10% conservation by 2015. Our current drought helped us achieve this benchmark. The Governor has ordered further work in the next year on setting new conservation goals and standards that will go beyond the “20 by 2020” standard.
When people think of “conservation,” they tend to think of it as a temporary activity. The local water retailers advocate an ongoing ethic of water use efficiency — a long-term, sustainable approach, even in the absence of an event-driven (drought) emergency.
Mandatory Conservation Measures, Reporting and Enforcement
As of May 2016, the following activities are permanently prohibited by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB):
- No washing down sidewalks and driveways;
- No watering outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excess runoff;
- NO washing a motor vehicle with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut off nozzle;
- No operating a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system;
- No irrigating turf or ornamental landscapes during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation;
- Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers on request; and
- Hotel/motel operators must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily.
Water retailers are responsible for compliance and enforcement of the mandatory measures.
For more information on enforcement measures including penalties and exemptions, please contact your water retailer directly.