California cities, towns must cut water use by 25 percent

April 2, 2015

Jerry BrownCalifornia 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.

Josh Payne

Governor Jerry brown needs to look at Nestle who sucked up 50 million gallons of California water last year alone. Each fracking well takes 2 – 8 million gallons of water. Almonds growers use 10% of all water used in California which is a stunning 1.1 trillion gallons of water each year! The average golf course uses 312,000 gallons of water per day. And think how much water wineries suck up. These are all things we don’t need to survive. We need drinking water. Our lawns are another thing we don’t need. So why is the governor going after us first? Why not Nestle? Why not fracking companies? Why not the golf industry? Follow the money folks.


FYI… fracking uses non-potable water, so there is little impact on “drinking water”.


The chemical laden water that they inject to “frack” (which they won’t disclose the chemical composition of) that is the problem. If it was just plain water……but it is not.


Clicked on the link. Who wrote that article? Where are they “fracking” in California? You could count the number of fracked wells in SLO county on your right hand even if you were a convicted muslim thief.

We might have to rename FairAndBalanced to DumbAndHappy.


Also, where available many golf courses are also using “grey water”, again little impact on “drinking water”. Perhaps the lawns to start looking at would those of the governor and officials. They want us to conserve but have they started with their own lawns? Take a look at any “higher $$$” housing development, lots of green grass. These are the type of developments where our elected officials live. How much of the California economy do the almond growers contribute to? if it is around 10%, then almond growers look to be one of the last places to start with. Farming is a large part of the CA economy, and the state does need that industry to survive, if it doesn’t survive then we don’t survive, what else does CA produce in such a large number other than agriculture? But I agree follow the money but perhaps look in other places than the examples you stated.


So if almond growers really do contribute 10% to California’s economy do we just let them keep pumping water from deep aquifers that won’t recharge for 1000’s of years?

Isn’t that what we all decided to call unsustainable?

Really long term damage for short term gain seem pretty stupid to me.


Who’s “monitoring” water usage for property owners on private well water vs. municipal water [with meters]? Many property owners on 1+ acre appear to have no regard for wasting gallons of precious water to keep their plush lawns vibrant green. Seemingly, their mentality is “Hey, it’s MY well, and I can do as I please with MY water.” Where’s the level playing field.


Needless nitpicking, as residential water use accounts for less than 20% of water used in the state. That is, every single residential use – all added up, and you’re around 16% or so.

This is all just pomp and show, which is all we know that politicians and their sycophants in the media love to do. Any real, drastic change in water use policy will begin and end with agriculture. But by all means, look as close as you want to the smoke that is in front of us.


It would be nice if the City of Sacramento had meters on all of their residences and commercial buildings before they started telling the rest of us what to do.


Just like SLO’s odor law, they gave themselves a pass, so it is a law only for the residents and not for the city officials.


So YOU, Mariposa, are the arbiter of whether a green lawn is a “waste”? You want to “level the playing field” between what? My three wells (two of them pumped by solar) draw from an underlay nearly a mile square, way outside the PR Basin area and (from my best hydrogeologic guess) UNTAPPED by anyone else. Watering a few hundred square feet of grass by hand just might be a pleasing relaxing therapy experience. My equivalent/replacement of the glass of wine to relax before bedtime. You gonna deny me that? Fly your nanny drone over the property and turn me in ?

There is a bigger picture to Brown’s approach. If our water infrastructure officials can’t provide enough water for basic life, industry, and agriculture then it’s THEM who is failing. High flow toilets are a waste, a fixable low impact fix. . A bit of human use is not a waste.

(P.S. my in town publicly-connected property will try to 25% comply, difficult to do since we implemented best water saving management practices and fixtures over a decade ago.)

Jorge Estrada

A state rebate program? Why not rebate the water districts for lost revenue and save the customers from that emergency rate increase, possibly a drought management fee, to cover lost revenue.

Again none of this will create water.


If we don’t curtail new home building Browns’ mandatory executive order is useless .

He should have ordered a stop on all new building permits effective yesterday, the day

of his order. California cannot continue to build w/o looking at water needs. Golf courses,homeowners’ lawns….all must go dead this year.


But what about all the developers that make large $$ contributions to Brown and others, they can’t be told “No More Building”

3 putt

Look out—Here comes Laetitia (over a hundred homes and an 80 cabin Dude Ranch down thelong and dusty road)


Not to worry. John Janneck at the Reserve at Laetitia website (aka Wine Snob Estates) says there is plenty of water. We all know how credible his word is. The fact nearby neighbors are having to haul water and the avocado orchard across the freeway from Laetitia has had to “stump” their trees is not admissible.

3 putt

I just looked at that site for the first time, and almost gagged. Janneck has the nerve to say there is plenty of water and that the pumping on the Laetitia land will not affect the neighboring wells????? I sorta wonder what made mine and 4 adjoining neighbors have their wells go dry . (we live next to the vineyard.) Cost us an arm and a leg and is still very “iffy” Wells in this entire area are extremely tenuous.


And tuft is an american dream, you don’t see turf in every lawn in other countries. Once folks get used to native and drought resistance landscape I think they will like them. No mowing every week or two, it takes less maintenance over all.

I have to cut back some shrubs and native grass once a year. Other than that not much work and I have color all year long on my property. I find it much more eye appealing than the typical green on green landscape most people have. I like variety, what can I say.


i cut my water usage 20% from last year. now more cuts? let’s stop new home building permits. and guess what? there will be increased charges for “delivery” that will make up for less usage. it happened with gas, (a shift off gas sales to another tax) and what about electricity? more “delivery” charges because of a shift to solar. if one hurts we should all hurt. do we need a bullet train or do we need to address other areas? i would like to see an elegant solution

Rich in MB


Why are we issuing new building permits when we don’t have water for the developments we already have?

I’m as radical a tea party extremist out there and stand for individual and property rights, but when we have no water….something’s got to give!


i assume the “down thumb” means you want the bullet train? let your thoughts be known. or can you only press a button?

Josh Payne

Hearst Castle’s gardens, fracking, almonds, golf courses and lawns all need to go.


You left out the most obvious offenders, vineyards and wineries. They need to be stopped and monitored.

Old Salt

Will the— PASO ROBLES GRAPE GROWERS— cut back on their water usage and will they stop planting more grape vines on additional thousands of acres?

Rich in MB

Lets face it folks, it’s time to let your front yard grass turn brown.

The State just doesn’t have the water anymore for the “American Dream Landscaping”

Old Salt

Artificial Turf…might look good about now…!


but we still issue building permits for new homes.


If Adam Hill has his way Gary Grossman will still all his houses built regardless of the airport, Hill needs Mr. Grossman’s money for his re-election campaign


We got rid of our lawn and hardscaped our backyard in 2007. Only ones on the block. Have cut our water units from 5 to 3 for the same time of year. Come on, empty your pools and get with the program.


You’re one of the people who is doing all they can do without being forced. You’re now with a lower number of water units being used. What will you do to cut back an additional 25%?


I am afraid I am in the same boat. The only way I can cut back that much water is to not clean dishes or myself. If I do the latter, I would have to stay out of SLO for fear of violating the new “No offensive odors” regulations.


Taxpayer, we won’t do anything more, especially when we come home at night to see water running down the street still from the city of Paso overwatering the greenbelt. The 25% reduction is for them.


If you don’t cut back then you will end up paying more for the water that you’re already using. You’re being punished for saving water in the past. The game is rigged.

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