California cities, towns must cut water use by 25 percent
April 2, 2015
California Governor Jerry Brown announced an executive order Wednesday that will require all cities and towns in the state to cut their water use 25 percent from 2013 levels. [LA Times]
The executive order is California’s first mandatory water use restriction in state history. Under the new rule, the state can fine local agencies up to $10,000 a day if they do not comply with the required water cuts.
Brown made the announcement in a dry Sierra Nevada field that is normally covered with snow at this time of year.
“We’re standing on dry grass,” he said. “We should be standing on five feet of snow.”
Brown’s announcement came on the same day that water officials measured the lowest April 1 Sierra Nevada snow-pack in more than 60 years of record keeping. The governor warned that the current drought could persist.
The executive order will also require golf courses, campuses and cemeteries to cut their water use. New developments must be equipped with drip or microspray systems if they irrigate with drinking water.
Additionally, cities must stop watering median strips in the middle of roads, and the state will work with local agencies to remove 50 million square feet of grass. Workers will replace the grass with drought-tolerant landscaping.
State agencies will create a temporary rebate program with the aim of getting homeowners to replace appliances that use a lot of water with more efficient ones.
Critics of the executive order say it does not do enough to curb agricultural water use.
The state water board is tasked with implementing the new rules. The water board is expected to approve the regulations in early May.