California Governor Mandates Long-Term Water Conservation

His executive order establishes longer-term water conservation measures, including permanent monthly water use reporting, new permanent water use standards in California communities, and bans on wasteful practices such as hosing off sidewalks, driveways, and other hardscapes.

An executive order issued May 9 by California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. builds on temporary statewide emergency water restrictions to establish longer-term water conservation measures, including permanent monthly water use reporting, new permanent water use standards in California communities, and bans on wasteful practices such as hosing off sidewalks, driveways, and other hardscapes. "Californians stepped up during this drought and saved more water than ever before, but now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence and water conservation must be a part of our everyday life," he said.

According to the governor's office, Californians reduced their water use between June 2015 and March 2016 by 23.9 percent compared with the same months in 2013, saving enough water to provide 6.5 million Californians with water for one year.

"While the severity of the drought has lessened in some parts of California after winter rains and snow, the current drought is not over. For the fifth consecutive year, dry conditions persist in many areas of the state, with limited drinking water supplies in some communities, diminished water for agricultural production and environmental habitat, and severely depleted groundwater basins," the governor's news release stated. His order calls for long-term improvements to local drought preparation across the state and directs the State Water Resources Control Board to develop proposed emergency water restrictions for 2017 if the drought persists.

It says the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board will require monthly reporting by urban water suppliers on a permanent basis -- information regarding water use, conservation, and enforcement. And through a public process and working with partners such as urban water suppliers, local governments, and environmental groups, they will develop new water use efficiency targets as part of a long-term conservation framework for urban water agencies.

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