In the News: Long-Term Water-Use Efficiency Standards

June 11, 2018

In early June 2018, Governor Brown signed two bills (Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606) into law that established long-term standards for water suppliers. While these bills apply to suppliers and not to individual customers, Cal Water will be working with our customers to help them use water efficiently in accordance with these new standards.

These bills do a number of things, including:

  • Require that urban retail water suppliers calculate and report an urban water use target by November 1, 2023 and each November 1 thereafter that compares actual urban water use to the target.
  • Make changes to long-term planning requirements such as Urban Water Management Plans, five-year drought risk assessments, Water Shortage Contingency Plans, and annual water supply/demand assessments.
  • Establish a timeline for state agencies to set standards for water use.

The timeline for new standards includes:

  • January 1, 2020: Recommendation of new standards for indoor water use. These will default to 55 gallons per person per day (gallons per capita daily or gpcd) until 2025, 52.5 gpcd until 2030, and 50 gpcd thereafter. Urban retail water suppliers will be supplied data for the irrigation standards.
  • October 1, 2021: Recommendation of new outdoor residential water use standards. These will incorporate Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance principles, apply to irrigable land, and include provisions for pools, spas, etc. Performance measures for commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) use and variance provisions for issues such as evaporative coolers, horses/livestock, seasonal populations, soil compaction/dust control, wildlife, and fire protection will also be recommended.
  • June 30, 2022: Long-term standards for outdoor residential use, outdoor irrigation on CII dedicated irrigation meters, and water loss performance standards will be officially adopted.
  • November 1, 2023: Calculation by urban water suppliers of water use objectives and actual use for previous year. These will include indoor and outdoor use, water loss, and variances.

These bills are part of the continued process to establish long-term water-use efficiency standards in the state. We are actively engaged with state agencies on the development of these regulations. We are also well-positioned to meet any standard adopted and will comply with all regulations required of utilities.

To help meet current and future regulations, we have a robust water conservation program. Customers can visit the conservation page or Contact Us to learn more about these programs.

In the meantime, please keep in mind that water-use prohibitions designed to encourage broader conservation remain in effect. These include, for example, not hosing down paved areas and turning off irrigation systems when it rains. Visit the Prohibited Uses of Water page for a complete list. These restrictions are all important steps to ensure we continue to have a reliable supply of water for customers and communities—both every day and for fire protection—now and into the future.