SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (April 1, 2015) – In response to the ongoing drought and record low snow in California, Governor Jerry Brown today announced a statewide directive including mandatory water reductions, investment in new technologies, implementation of conservation pricing in water rates, increased reporting of water use data in the agricultural sector, and more.
California is in its fourth consecutive year of drought, with 2012 through 2014 being the driest three-year period in the past 1,200 years.
Following is a statement from Steve Fleischli, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program:
“Tough times call for tough measures, and the Governor’s action is exactly the kind of leadership we need in ensuring we conserve more water across the state.
“With record-low snow on the ground and no end to this drought in sight, it’s absolutely critical that our leaders – and our local suppliers – are implementing long- and short-term solutions to California’s water challenges. The days of casual waste and inattentive consumption are over in California. Now everyone will be expected to do his or her part to help save water.”
Highlights of the governor’s plan include:
- the Water Resources Control Board to reduce water usage by 25 percent in cities and towns across California – a savings of approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months
- local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing
- replacing 50 million square feet of thirsty lawns with drought tolerant landscaping
- action against water agencies in depleted groundwater basins that have not shared data on their groundwater supplies with the state
- making permanent monthly reporting of water usage, conservation and enforcement actions by local water suppliers.
- agricultural water users reporting more water use information to state regulators, increasing the state's ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water under today’s order sector to help enforce action against illegal diversions and water waste
- new statewide incentives for the replacement of inefficient household water-using devices, such as clothes washers
- stronger standards and improved enforcement for ordinances that apply to all newly installed landscapes