California's State Water Resources Control Board Rescinds Restrictions on Water Use
SACRAMENTO, CA – Yesterday, California’s chief water regulatory agency, the State Water Resources Control Board, rescinded water supply “stress test” requirements and several remaining mandatory conservation standards for urban water supplies.
The state did maintain water use reporting requirements and prohibitions against wasteful practices. According to a press release from the California Water Boards, the rescindment was made by State Water Board Director Tom Howard in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s announcement, earlier this month, that the state would end its drought state of emergency and transitioning toward a permanent framework in which the state would take a more proactive approach to water conservation.
The Governor’s executive order, issued April 7, directs the State Water Board to lift the provisions of its drought emergency regulation specifically tied to the circumstances of the state’s drought, but to keep in place temporary requirements for monthly water use reporting and prohibitions against wasteful water use practices, as the Board works to develop permanent reporting and wasteful use regulations.
Currently prohibited wasteful practices include outdoor watering during or within 48 hours after a rain event, hosing down a sidewalk instead of using a broom or a brush, and overwatering a landscape to where water is running off onto the sidewalk or into the gutter. These temporary requirements will remain in place until November 25, when emergency regulation expires.
A long-term conservation framework was also introduced on April 7, with recommendations to establish permanent water conservation standards and improved agricultural and urban water management planning to insulate against the eventuality of future drought emergencies.
According to the California Water Boards press release, these actions will help the state achieve a top priority of the California Water Action Plan—to improve long-term drought preparedness and “Make Conservation a California Way of Life.”
Additionally, the framework includes proposed legislation with the following proposed provisions:
- Requirements that the State Water Board, in consultation with the Department of Water Resources (DWR), set long-term urban water use efficiency standards by May 20, 2021
- A robust public participation process to provide the State Water Board and DWR with critical input from local agencies, tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, the business sector, academics, and others
- Requirements that urban water suppliers to plan for droughts lasting five or more years; and establishes new drought planning and water efficiency reporting requirements for agricultural water suppliers.
For updates on the water supply in this important growing region, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow.