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Govenor's Drought Executive Order
Governor Issues Executive Order, Calls for First-Ever Mandatory Reductions in Water Use
Gov. Jerry Brown today called for mandatory statewide reductions in water use and announced a suite of new state actions to conserve water use, increase enforcement of water use restrictions and streamline drought response by state agencies.
The governor unveiled the actions, outlined in a new executive order, during the Department of Water Resources’ manual snow survey at Phillips Station in the Sierras. The April 1 snow survey, considered critical to gauging the snowmelt that will fill the state's reservoirs in summer months, revealed no snow whatsoever at the site. It is the first time since recordings started there 75 years ago that the meadow was void of snow.
The executive order directs the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions across the state to reduce water usage by 25%. Areas with higher per-capita water use will be required to achieve proportionally greater reductions in water use than areas with low per-capita use.
In addition, the Department of Water Resources is tasked with leading a statewide initiative - in partnership with local water agencies - to replace 50 million square feet of lawns and ornamental turf with water-efficient landscapes. DWR is directed to provide funding assistance for the turf replacement program, which is intended to complement efforts already underway around the state.
The State Board also is directed to prohibit irrigation with potable water of ornamental landscapes on public street medians.
The State Board is expected to develop emergency regulations to implement the executive order's directives in the coming weeks. Board approval of the regulations is anticipated in early May following public hearings on the proposed regulations.
Emergency regulations adopted by the State Board on March 17 still remain in effect.
Following are some of the key elements of the executive order issued by the governor today:
Urban Water Conservation
- Mandatory water reductions to reduce water usage by 25% over 2013 levels
- An emergency regulation requiring local water agencies to implement new “conservation pricing” water rate structures
- Making permanent monthly reporting of water usage, conservation and enforcement actions by local water suppliers
- Turf replacement programs to total 50 million square feet of lawns statewide (in partnership with local programs)
- Temporary statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models
- An expedited regulation by the Department of Water Resources to update the State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance to improve irrigation efficiency standards
- New requirements to reduce commercial, industrial, and institutional landscape irrigation
- Restrictions on use of potable water for landscape irrigation for new development
- Prohibition on irrigation of ornamental grass on public street medians
- New emergency regulations by the California Energy Commission to improve water appliance standards
Agricultural Water Use
- New requirement for a drought plan and water supply and demand data for 2013-2015 in Agricultural Water Management Plans due in 2015
- New requirement for Agricultural Water Management Plans for suppliers between 10,000 and 25,000 acres, which are due July 1, 2016
- New requirement for water agencies to submit to the state groundwater monitoring data in priority groundwater basins
Enforcement and Other Drought Response Measures
- Increased reporting of water diversion and use and increased enforcement against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water
- Prioritized review by state agencies for permitting for projects that increase water supplies
- Streamlining permitting and review of emergency drought salinity barriers to preserve freshwater supplies in upstream reservoirs for human use and habitat protection for endangered and threatened species
- New and amended safe drinking water permitting to address community water shortages
- Streamlining review and approval process for voluntary water transfers and emergency drinking water projects
- Temporary relocation assistance to families who need to move from homes where domestic wells have run dry to housing with running water
- New water use efficiency technology program administered by the California Energy Commission