Water Board discuss a $1000 daily fine on water suppliers who don’t reduce water for residents by 9%

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CALIFORNIA – The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) held a workshop, Wednesday, to discuss proposed mandates on water suppliers to implement a 9% reduction of water on residents by 2035. The savings equates to 446,000 acre-feet of water – or enough to supply 1.3 million households for a year.

The water board says it will impose a $1,000 daily fee if suppliers cannot get consumers to comply with restrictions.

Proposed regulation

SWRCB says water conservation is an important component of the state’s Water Supply Strategy to address an anticipated 10% reduction in water supply by 2040. The strategy includes expanding storage, recycling, desalination and stormwater capture projects. 

The proposed regulation would require suppliers to annually set efficiency budgets for a set of urban water uses. These uses include residential indoor water use, residential outdoor water use, water loss, and commercial landscapes.

If water suppliers go over the efficiency budgets, $1,000 daily fines will be imposed, not to exceed $25,000.

SWRCB says water suppliers can use several different tactics to get residents and businesses to comply with reduced water use mandates – provide education and outreach, leak detection, incentives to plant “climate ready” landscapes, and rebates to replace old and inefficient fixtures and appliances.

Water suppliers have concerns

Statewide, there are over 400 urban retail water suppliers — publicly and privately run agencies that deliver water to 95% of Californians. 

Water suppliers expressed concern, at the workshop, that the proposed mandates would be too expensive to achieve – an estimated $13.5 billion. They say it will also be hard to enforce restrictions on residents.

Hi-Desert Water District Director of Public and Government Affairs Jennifer Cusack says they have already implemented education, outreach and rebates after their well water dropped 400 feet in 1970.

“We’ll continue our customer rebates. Right now we’re looking at offering a rebate for a leak detection device so we can put on and turn off remotely – similar to controlling their A/C,” said Cusack.

RELATED: Arrowhead Water bottling company says expansion of water board’s authority over groundwater is dangerous

Cusack says even though most residents are on dirt lots and irrigation is low, their agency would be out of compliance with the proposed regulation.

SWRCB will vote next summer on the rules, which could go into effect in the fall.

To view the full workshop visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEn3ooP6T18.



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