NEW WATER CONSERVATION BILLS
On May 31, 2018 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two new bills that will require urban water providers throughout California to set new permanent water use targets for their service areas by 2022. Senate Bill 606 (Hertzberg) and Assembly Bill 1668 (Friedman) provide a framework for setting water use targets, as well as implementing and enforcing the new water use requirements. There are no immediate impacts to customers from these new laws.
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The Sacramento Region, including the Elk Grove Water District is not in a drought emergency and we are at a “Normal Water Use Supply” stage. Water use restrictions currently include:
NORMAL WATER SUPPLY – No shortage exists. No extraordinary water conservation regulations exist.
The following practices that waste potable water are prohibited:
- Runoff – Irrigation shall not be allowed to run off to adjoining properties or to the roadside ditch or gutter.
- Watering after a Rainfall Event – No irrigation shall be allowed for 48 hours after a measurable rainfall event. A measureable rainfall event shall be defined as an event having 0.10 inches of rain in one day.
- Hoses – Open hoses are not permitted. Automatic shutoff nozzles are required.
- Washing driveways and other paved areas – Use of water to clean sidewalks, driveways, patios, or other hardscapes is not permitted. Washing of streets and commercial parking lots with a hose is not permitted, except to alleviate immediate fire or sanitation hazards.
- Pools, ponds and fountains – All swimming pools, ponds, fountains, or other decorative water feature shall use recirculated water.
PENALTIES FOR WATER WASTING
- First violation – Customer is notified of violation
- Second violation – Written warning sent to customer
- Subsequent violation – $100 fine
In addition, the following practices are encouraged:
- Irrigation – Limit landscape irrigation to not more than 3 days a week
- Irrigation hours – Landscaping irrigation is discouraged between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. during the summer months (May – October).
- Serving of Water – Restaurants shall serve water to customers only upon request.
- Water Leaks – Leaking pipes, fixtures or sprinklers shall be repaired promptly.
Irrigation Restrictions After Rainfall
The emergency drought regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board in May 2015 specifically prohibits "The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall." The Elk Grove Water District refers to the Department of Water Resources California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) in determining when measurable rainfall has occurred in our District. EGWD defines measurable rainfall as 1/10 of an inch (.10).
The Sacramento Region, including the Elk Grove Water District is not in a drought emergency. On Friday, April 7th, 2017 Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that ended the drought emergency declaration in most of the state that had been in effect since 2014. The winter of 2016-2017 was one of the wettest winters in California’s history, with record breaking rain and snow fall across the state. California’s critical April 2017 snowpack reading came in at 164 percent of the historical average, and the U.S. Drought Monitor showed that less than 8 percent of the state was experiencing some form of drought, a drastic turnaround from the same time in 2015 when 90 percent of the state was critically dry. While states water conditions have greatly improved, the prolonged drought does have some lingering negative effects including diminished groundwater, subsidence from over pumping aquifers and tree mortality.
In addition to ending the Emergency Drought declaration, Governor Brown released the final draft of Executive Order B-37-16: Making Water Conservation A California Way of Life, which outlines new efficiency standards for urban water suppliers and permanent prohibitions on wasteful water practices including hosing of sidewalks and irrigating turf street medians. While most of California is no longer in a drought, it is still important to use water efficiently and not be wasteful with our water use.