Emergency Regulations: Prohibition Of Activities And Mandatory Actions During Drought Emergency In California


Responding to the recent severe drought, the California Water Resources Board on Tuesday approved an emergency regulation to make sure water agencies, their clients and state residents increase the conservation of water in urban settings or face possible fines. The regulation for water conservation is aimed at reducing outdoor urban water use. The regulations which the state water board adopted mandate the use of minimum actions to help conserve water supplies this year and in 2015. Most California citizens make use of more water for their outdoor activities. In some areas, about 50% or more of daily water use is used for outdoor landscaping and lawns. Over the years, many communities have taken bold steps to reduce water use. But many have not been doing this and more needs to be done to make sure water supplies do not continue to diminish.

This regulation is aimed at helping all Californians stop certain activities like washing down sidewalks or driveways; watering their outdoor landscapes which causes excessive runoff; making use of hose to wash their cars, unless when such hoses have shut-off nozzles, and making use of potable water in fountains or decorative water features, except when such potable water is recirculated. This regulation makes serious exception for safety and health conditions. In communities where there is no such water shortage contingency, the regulation requires water suppliers to choose between the regulation of outdoor irrigation to about twice a week and implementing other similar water conservation actions. To track the progress of this water conservation processes, water suppliers are expected to report water usage at least once a month.

Local agencies could recommend a $500 daily fine to the courts for water users who fail to implement the stipulated conservation measures in addition to existing processes and policies. The state Water Board could take some actions against all water suppliers that fail to observe the new regulations. All water agencies that fail to comply with the State Water Board Enforcement Order will have to pay a $10, 000 daily penalties. According to State Board Chair, Felicia Marcus, “this is unarguably the most severe drought ever experienced by both past and present generations, and we have no idea when it will be over”. The impact of this drought is felt in all Californian communities. Communities are short of water, fields are fallowed, wildlife and fish will be devastated. Californians are advised not to waste any more water on outdoor uses. It is in their best interests to conserve as much water as possible to forestall further deterioration of the water scarcity if the drought lingers for longer. These regulations are aimed at sparking widespread awareness of the severity of the situation, and could be extended if the drought lasts longer without adequate action from the people.

The State Water Board has made a plea for communities, water suppliers and business to do more in addition to approving the emergency conservation regulations today. For instance, water supplies have been asked to step up their water conservation programs to make sure all leaks and other sources of water loss are fixed, use more captured rainwater or recycled water, and device other means to help reduce demands among their clients.



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