California Tackles Wasteful Outdoor Watering

Water Board’s Decision Helps Spur Water Conservation Measures to Preserve Long-term Supply

SACRAMENTO (July 15, 2014) – The State Water Resources Control Board today voted to adopt mandatory emergency drought measures to curtail wasteful uses of water outdoors and help safeguard our future water supply. The new statewide rules require city utilities to report monthly water production data and to activate local drought plans that limit landscape irrigation. Specific wasteful outdoor watering practices would be barred statewide, including watering down driveways and sidewalks, hose-washing a car without a shutoff nozzle, operating fountains without recirculation, and flooding sidewalks and gutters with irrigation runoff. The rule, effective August 1, is consistent with recommendations offered by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Following is a statement from Ed Osann, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“An emergency requires action, and today’s announcement is a much-needed response to California’s drought emergency. The State is employing smart strategies to better prepare Californians to cope with record dry conditions and the stark prospect of continuing water shortages. 

“These actions are primarily intended to stop excessive outdoor water waste, which will help reduce the drain on our increasingly scarce water supplies. And the added step of closely monitoring monthly water production allows the State to manage the drought in near real time and provides an essential tool for gauging the effectiveness of these conservation measures in response to the drought. 

“The Board is wise to adopt these water saving and monitoring measures, and we look forward to working with State officials to identify additional actions to stretch our limited water supplies.”

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