SACRAMENTO – Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end to the drought in sight, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced actions that will save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state's drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.
“Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action,” said Governor Brown. “Therefore, I’m issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible.”
High resolution photos of previous snow surveys are availablehere.
For more than two years, the state’s experts have been managing water resources to ensure that the state survives this drought and is better prepared for the next one. Last year, the Governor proclaimed a drought state of emergency. The state has taken steps to make sure that water is available for human health and safety, growing food, fighting fires and protecting fish and wildlife. Millions have been spent helping thousands of California families most impacted by the drought pay their bills, put food on their tables and have water to drink.
The following is a summary of the executive order issued by the Governor today.
For the first time in state history, the Governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. This savings amounts to approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months, or nearly as much as is currently in Lake Oroville.
To save more water now, the order will also:
Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments;
Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models;
Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and
Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
The Governor’s order calls on local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing, recognized as an effective way to realize water reductions and discourage water waste.
Agricultural water users – which have borne much of the brunt of the drought to date, with hundreds of thousands of fallowed acres, significantly reduced water allocations and thousands of farmworkers laid off – will be required to report more water use information to state regulators, increasing the state's ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water under today’s order. Additionally, the Governor’s action strengthens standards for Agricultural Water Management Plans submitted by large agriculture water districts and requires small agriculture water districts to develop similar plans. These plans will help ensure that agricultural communities are prepared in case the drought extends into 2016.
Additional actions required by the order include:
Taking action against water agencies in depleted groundwater basins that have not shared data on their groundwater supplies with the state;
Updating standards for toilets and faucets and outdoor landscaping in residential communities and taking action against communities that ignore these standards; and
Making permanent monthly reporting of water usage, conservation and enforcement actions by local water suppliers.
Streamline Government Response
Prioritizes state review and decision-making of water infrastructure projects and requires state agencies to report to the Governor’s Office on any application pending for more than 90 days.
Streamlines permitting and review of emergency drought salinity barriers – necessary to keep freshwater supplies in upstream reservoirs for human use and habitat protection for endangered and threatened species;
Simplifies the review and approval process for voluntary water transfers and emergency drinking water projects; and
Directs state departments to provide temporary relocation assistance to families who need to move from homes where domestic wells have run dry to housing with running water.
Invest in New Technologies
The order helps make California more drought resilient by:
Incentivizing promising new technology that will make California more water efficient through a new program administered by the California Energy Commission.
The full text of the executive order can be foundhere.
For more than two years, California has been dealing with the effects of drought. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov.
Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.
Call for Voluntary Water Conservation
Dear Aromas Water District Customer:
Last year we received about 50% of our seasonal average rainfall. Though we have had some recent rain, officials are reporting our region has received only about 37% of our seasonal average precipitation to date. On January 17th Governor Brown officially declared a statewide drought emergency requesting residential water users to voluntarily reduce water use by 20%. We are asking you to help reduce your water usage.
There are numerous ways you can help:
Visit our website: www.aromaswaterdistrict.org for news and tips about conservation, indoors and out.
Log on to your account (from our website) to see your prior year usage as a way to gauge your monthly use. Calculate your use into gallons: one cubic foot equals 7.5 gallons.
Learn to understand your daily usage and make an effort to reduce indoor use.
Two 7 minute showers with a 1.5 gpm showerhead uses 21 gallons
Nine toilet flushings with a low-flow toilet uses a total of 12 gallons
One dishwasher run uses between 6-10 gallons
One washing machine load of clothes uses 20 gallons
Running water in the sink uses 1 gallon per minute
Leaks happen. Contact AWD to learn how to read your water meter
Focus on landscape watering; this is usually more than 65% of your total usage. Reduce outdoor watering by: using mulch to hold moisture, installing drip water systems, replacing lawn with drought tolerant plants, irrigating in the early morning or cool evening, avoid watering when it is windy, use shut off nozzles on hoses.
Let’s reduce our water impact during this current drought as well as into the future. Our district is not in a crisis yet but a prolonged drought could have potentially severe consequences for our precious water supply. Your participation is the answer.
Thank you for your continued support,
Members of the Board of Directors and Staff of Aromas Water District
The Aromas Water District is a Multicounty Special District governed by the California Water Code and regulated by the California Department of Public Health. The District provides water to customers within its annexed boundaries in the Aromas area serving a portion of Monterey and San Benito Counties. For a closer look at the area served, see the link to the District map on the left.