Posts Tagged ‘drought’


On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued an executive order directing the State Water Resources Control Board to impose restrictions on water suppliers with the ultimate goal of achieving a statewide 25 percent reduction in potable urban water usage by February 2016. The order also requires certain water users to implement water efficiency measures and prohibits the use of potable water for some types of irrigation.

In response to this order, the Board released draft emergency drought regulations on April 18, subsequently amended on April 28. The regulations, designed to prevent the waste and unreasonable use of water and to promote water conservation, prohibit certain actions such as watering landscapes in a way that creates runoff, watering driveways and sidewalks, and serving water in restaurants except upon request. The regulations aim to conserve 1.3 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months. On May 5th, the Board voted to adopt the regulations.

The draft regulations reflect the input of more than 250 water agencies. Governor Brown has stated he will propose additional legislation to allow local agencies to enforce these regulations through methods such as the imposition of hefty fines for failure to comply with the restrictions.

The conservation savings standards for urban water suppliers will take effect June 1st. Prohibitions applying to all Californians will take effect immediately upon approval of the regulation by the Office of Administrative Law. More information can be found on the Board’s website.

In response to the unprecedented drought the State is facing in 2014, the California Legislature recently enacted emergency drought legislation. The two measures, SB 103 and SB 104, received bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly before being signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

The bills allocate substantial funds, approximately $687.4 million, to support drought relief in drought-afflicted communities throughout the State. The dispersion of more than $500 million in existing water bond funding will be expedited for local projects already planned or under way. Examples of these projects include improvement of storm water capture, expanded use of recycled water, enhanced groundwater management and recharge, and expanded water conservation. Other funds, including revenue from the AB 32 cap-and-trade auctions, will also be made available for drought-relief efforts through provisions in SB 103 and SB 104.

The bills include various other provisions beyond simple monetary relief. For example, sanctions have been enhanced for certain conduct, like illegal diversion of water, during drought years. The bills also direct the California Department of Public Health to adopt new groundwater replenishment regulations by July 1, 2014. This leaves only four months for the department to draft and adopt new regulations—a tall order for any agency engaging in rulemaking bound to impact many interests. And in California under current conditions, no topic is likely to be much more controversial than water supply.  After all, in the West, water is what we fight over.

Governor Brown Declares a Drought State of Emergency

January 17th, 2014 by Gwynne Hunter

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a drought state of emergency and called for statewide water conservation. Brown directed the state to manage water for drought conditions and asked that asked that all Californians conserve water wherever possible.

This has been the driest year in California’s recorded history. The state’s snowpack is at only 20 percent of water content typical for this time of year. Rivers and reservoirs are below record lows.

These water shortfalls can be disastrous for farms, communities, and fire-prone areas. Brown directed state officials to assist economically impacted farmers and ensure adequate drinking water supply. The governor also directed state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters.

In May 2013, Brown issued an executive order directing state water officials to expedite review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights. In December 2013, Brown formed a Drought Task Force.

Details on Brown’s public awareness campaign can be found at saveourh2o.org.