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Legal Alert

State Water Board Extends Emergency Water Conservation Regulation

State Water Board Extends Emergency Water Conservation Regulation

On February 2, 2016, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency regulation to extend the mandatory statewide reduction in urban potable water usage through October 31, 2016. The Water Board’s action follows the Governor’s Executive Order B-36-15 (November 13, 2015), which called for the extension if drought conditions persisted through January 2016. A draft of the emergency regulation was issued on January 15, which the Water Board modified slightly prior to approval on February 2.

The emergency regulation aims to provide water suppliers additional flexibility to meet their conservation standards through the use of credits and adjustments to account for different climates, urban growth and investments made to improve potable water supply. These credits range from 2 to 8 percent and may be triggered automatically or based on information provided by the water suppliers. For example, default adjustments may be made based on a service area’s evapotranspiration relative to the statewide average, based on the California Irrigation Management System ETo Zone Map. However, a supplier may apply for a different adjustment by identifying more specifically-applicable evapotranspiration for its area and providing the data to the Water Board by March 15, 2016. The March 15 deadline also applies to water suppliers who wish to receive an urban growth credit.

Additionally, the emergency regulation authorizes penalties against homeowners’ associations and community service organizations that impede homeowners’ ability to reduce landscape watering during a declared drought emergency.

The Water Board expects this emergency regulation to result in a statewide water conversation rate of 20 to 25%. Assuming the Office of Administrative Law approves the emergency regulation, it will take effect immediately and remain in effect for 270 days from the date of approval. More information on the emergency regulation is available on the Water Board’s website.

For More Information, Please Contact:

Samir Abdelnour
Samir Abdelnour
Director of Pro Bono and Social Impact
Walnut Creek, CA