California in a State of Water Emergency
On 5/5/15, the State Water Board adopted the 25% mandatory water conservation regulation, applicable to overall potable urban water use statewide. The required savings could amount to more than 1.2 million acre-feet of water over the next 9 months.
Driest Years in California’s Recorded History
2012 – 2013 – 2014 – 2015
What’s Prohibited for Everyone
Effective 6/1/15, the emergency regulation identifies how much water communities must conserve based on their average residential water use, per person per day, using the benchmark of last summer. Every person should be able to keep indoor water use to no more than 55 gallons per day.
The Regulation will Save Water By:
- Replacing lawns with drought tolerant landscaping
- Creating a consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with efficient models
- Requiring campuses, golf courses, cemeteries, and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use
- Prohibiting new developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and banning watering of ornamental grass on public street medians
How it Affects Communities
Local water agencies will determine the most cost effective and locally appropriate way to achieve their mandated water conservation standard, ranging between 4% and 36%. The likely result being cutting back on outdoor watering.
- Statewide, the snowpack water content was 20% of its average level in January 2015.
- The State’s two biggest reservoirs, Shasta and Oroville, are both at 57% of historical levels.
How it Affects Commercial, Industrial & Institutional Properties
Those properties that are not served by a water supplier (or are self-supplied, such as by a groundwater well) must either reduce water use by 25% or restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than 2 days per week. No reporting is required but they must maintain documentation of water use and practices.
Local agencies can fine property owners up to $500 a day for failure to implement the water use prohibitions and restrictions.
Ways to Extend Water Resources
Conservation – Recycling – Storm Water Capture – Desalination
How You Can Save Water
- Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Save: 25 gallons.
- Choose a water-efficient irrigation system, such as drip irrigation. Save: 15 gallons.
- Landscape with drought-resistant trees and plants and use mulch to reduce evaporation and keep soil cool. Save: 20-60 gallons per 1,000 sq. ft.
- Use a broom or non-water dependent device to clean driveways, sidewalks and parking lots. Save: 8-18 gallons per minute.
- Encourage employees to report leaks and problems with plumbing and irrigation equipment.
- Replace old toilets and urinals with WaterSense® labeled models, or consider waterless urinals. Plan ahead and budget for replacement of plumbing fixtures.
- Request a free landscape audit from your local water supplier, landscaper or property manager.
- Monitor your water bill monthly for unusually high use and check water meters for leaks.
Did You Know?
Commercial property managers can help property owners and operators navigate the drought by coordinating water use audits and planning for renovations by appropriately allocating and budgeting funds. To learn how to be water wise and which rebates or incentives are available for your property, contact a real estate manager at Meissner Jacquét Commercial Real Estate Services.
California Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board
United States Environment Protection Agency
Meissner Jacquét Commercial Real Estate Services