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State Water Board Adopts ‘Stress Test’ Approach to Water Conservation Regulations

On May 18, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board approved modifications to the existing emergency water conservation regulation to reflect improved conditions. 

The newly adopted emergency regulation will replace the Feb. 2 emergency water conservation regulation that set specific water conservation benchmarks at the state level for each urban water supplier. The adopted regulation, which will be in effect through January 2017, requires locally developed conservation standards based upon each agency’s specific circumstances.

These standards require Urban Water Agencies to ensure a three-year supply assuming three more dry years like the ones the state experienced from 2012 to 2015. Water agencies that would face shortages under three additional dry years will be required to meet a conservation standard equal to the amount of shortage. For example, if a water agency projects it would have a 10 percent supply shortfall, their mandatory conservation standard would be 10 percent.

The regulation requires every urban water supplier to continue their monthly conservation reporting. The adopted regulation also keeps in place specific “end user” prohibitions against certain water uses. Those prohibitions include watering down a sidewalk with a hose instead of using a broom or a brush, or overwatering a landscape to where water is running off the lawn, over a sidewalk and into the gutter. Prohibitions directed to the hospitality industry also remain in place. Prohibitions against home owners associations taking action against homeowners during a declared drought remain as well.

For additional information see:

Water Conservation Portal - Emergency Conservation Regulation

Media Release: State Water Board Adopts Emergency Water Conservation Regulation (5/18/16)

Fact sheet on extending the Emergency Regulation (5/18/16)