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California will impose permanent water restrictions for the first time in history to reduce statewide water use and minimize drastic water restrictions during droughts.

Water suppliers (but not individual households or businesses) will be required to reduce their water consumption by around 30 percent over the next 15 years. Suppliers who do not comply with the regulation will face a fine of $10,000 per day.

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The big picture: The policy is titled “Making Conservation a California Way of Life” and was approved by the state Water Resources Control Board.

  • Suppliers must take measures to encourage customers to reduce their water consumption, such as enforcing restrictions or promoting the use of water-saving appliances.
  • The cuts will not follow a one-size-fits-all approach, but will be determined based on a range of factors, such as past water use, climate and land use.
  • Different regions will see different levels of water use reduction. Some regions, such as the Bay Area, have historically low water use, while others, such as Los Angeles County, will see larger reductions.
  • The policy was initiated by a law signed by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2018. It is set to take effect on January 1, 2025, with the first round of savings scheduled for 2027. While some water agencies criticized the policy, environmental groups argue that the percentages of water savings should have been higher.

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