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  • Update: State Water Resources Control Board Releases Proposed Regulatory Framework to Implement the Drought Executive Order

Update: State Water Resources Control Board Releases Proposed Regulatory Framework to Implement the Drought Executive Order

April 09, 2015

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The State Water Resources Control Board ("Water Board") acted quickly in responding to the Governor's Executive Order B-29-15 ("Executive Order"). On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, the Water Board issued its proposed regulatory framework for mandating 25 percent reduction in potable urban water usage. The Water Board's proposed framework can be found here. The public may submit comments on the proposal by email to Jessica.Bean@waterboards.ca.gov by April 13, 2015.

The framework proposes a four-tiered system of reduction, categorizing California's 411 urban water suppliers by their residential per capita water use, in order to achieve the mandated 25 percent statewide reduction in urban potable water usage. Each tier is required to conserve a different percentage of water, ranging from 10 percent to 35 percent. Areas with a higher per capita water use must achieve higher reductions. A listing of each urban water supplier and their corresponding tier can be found here.

Additional reporting is proposed to assess compliance by commercial, industrial, and institutional sector customers (e.g. golf courses, cemeteries, and college campuses). The proposed regulations would also place new prohibitions on end users, including potable water use outside of newly constructed homes and on the irrigation of ornamental turf on public street medians.

Small water suppliers are categorized separately and not included in the tiered system. Instead, these suppliers would each be required to achieve a 25 percent water reduction as compared to their 2013 water use. Additionally, small water suppliers would be required to submit a one-time information report addressing potable water production and conservation efforts.

The framework also proposes significant enforcement measures ranging from informal letters to the Water Board's ability to assess Administrative Civil Liabilities of up to $10,000 for each day of noncompliance that follows the issuance of a Cease and Desist Order. 

The Water Board set forth the schedule for implementing the final regulations and provided this helpful fact sheet with pertinent information on how to stay involved. The schedule is as follows:

  • Governor issues Drought Executive Order   April 1, 2015
  • Notice of proposed regulatory framework   April 7, 2015
  • Public comments due on proposed regulatory framework   April 13, 2015
  • Notice of draft regulations   April 17, 2015
  • Emergency rulemaking formal notice   April 28, 2015
  • Water Board hearing and adoption   May 5th or 6th, 2015


Please feel free to contact us with any questions related to the drought regulations.

For more information, please contact:

Nathan Metcalf

415-995-5838 Direct Phone
415-995-3562 Fax

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