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Correct Information on California Water Efficiency Laws

On May 31, 2018, Governor Brown signed two bills which build on the ongoing efforts to “make water conservation a California way of life.” SB 606 and AB 1668 emphasize efficiency and stretching existing water supplies in our cities and on our farms. Efficient water use is the most cost-effective way to achieve long-term conservation goals, as well provide the water supply reliability needed to adapt to the longer and more intense droughts in the future. Some have misinterpreted the immediate impact of this law. It does not impose individual mandates for homeowners or businesses. The new limits apply to urban water suppliers – not customers.

Below are facts on the long-term water efficiency legislation that was signed into effect May 2018.

  • Water agencies are required to calculate a water efficiency standard for their entire service area annually based on indoor residential water use; outdoor water use; and commercial, industrial and institutional irrigation.
  • The standard of 55 gallons per person per day for indoor residential water use is not intended as an enforceable standard for individuals. It is one of several elements used to calculate the overall efficiency standard for a service area.
  • Individuals will not be responsible for State Water Resources Control Board fines. Instead, the State Water Board can fine water agencies up to $10,000 per day if the agency does not meet its cumulative standard.
  • There is no law against showering and doing laundry on the same day. There are no specific statewide laws that require individual households to meet any specific targets. The targets will be set for an entire service area and are scheduled to go into effect in 2023.

The State Water Board is working and collaborating with urban suppliers to implement the new efficiency standards. In addition to the 55-gallon standard, targets for outdoor water use and water loss due to leaks will also be determined. These three standards will be used to represent the overall water efficiency standards for each urban water provider.

Additional Resources

For more information on this water efficiency legislation, view the State Water Board’s Fact Sheet.