Mandatory water conservation regulations on the way

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Snow survey at Phillips snow course in the Sierras on March 28, 2013

By Deborra Brannon

Water conservation mandates will become the new and unprecedented reality as California struggles through its fifth year of drought.

Governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order on Wednesday, April 1, setting in motion a regulatory process that will ultimately require municipalities to achieve a 25 percent reduction in potable urban water usage by February 28, 2016.

The State Water Resources Control Board will spend the next six weeks or so drafting regulations to address that mandate as well as others that concern both different aspects of water conservation and increased enforcement against water waste, according to Richard Stapler, Deputy Secretary of Communications for the California Natural Resources Agency.

As it drafts regulations to reduce municipal water usage, “the SWRCB will look at how a city has already reduced water consumption, what supplies are in place, and what conservation efforts are already being implemented,” Stapler said. “It’s not a ‘one size fits all.’”

He said the draft regulations will be publicized and made available for public comment.

Once the regulations are finalized, local government agencies will be responsible to implement and manage them in ways considered most effective for their constituencies, Stapler said.

New appliance energy efficiency standards, rate structures that maximize water conservation, and increased reporting requirements for municipalities and other potable water suppliers as well as for water rights holders are among the other areas addressed in the executive order.