Governor Directs Statewide Mandatory Water Reductions
On March 17, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency regulations to encourage water conservation statewide in response to the historic drought. On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order on actions necessary to address California's severe drought conditions. The Executive Order directed the State Water Board to implement additional mandatory water regulations and water use reductions in urban areas to reduce potable urban water usage by 25 percent statewide. The Goleta Water District is in a 12% conservation tier due to its already low per-capita water use.
On May 5, 2015, the State Water Board adopted emergency conservation regulations in accordance with the Governor's directive. The provisions of the emergency regulation went into effect on May 15, 2015, and include:
- Targeted 25% statewide reduction in water use.
- Replacement of 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments.
- The creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models.
- Requirement for campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use.
- Prohibition of new homes and developments irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and a ban of watering ornamental grass on public street medians.
- Adjustment of rate structures and adoption of drought surcharges and fees to implement conservation pricing, recognized as an effective way to realize water reductions and discourage water waste.
- Irrigation with potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings is prohibited, unless drip or micro-spray irrigation is used. The Building Standards Commission will consider adoption of emergency regulations to implement this prohibition in early June 2015.
- Commercial, industrial, and institutional properties with an independent water supply (not served by the Goleta Water District or other local water supplier) are required to either,
1) Limit outdoor irrigation to two days per week, or
2) Achieve a 25% reduction in water use.
The District already has a plan in place to reduce water use, and currently offers multiple rebates for water conservation activities. The District shares the Governor’s sense of urgency and the Board of Directors will be considering a Stage III Declaration at its meeting in May. Staff will also be monitoring the state regulation setting process closely to ensure compliance.