While California has made great strides in water conservation and efficiency in recent years, challenges facing the state's water system mean all water users will have to do more in coming years. According to the state Department of Water Resources, using water more efficiently must become a permanent ethic – whether we are in a drought or not.
Comprehensive legislation on water enacted in November 2009 established new statewide water conservation mandates that require a 20% reduction in urban per-capita water use by 2020. Retail water suppliers are required to determine their baseline per-capita water use and develop water use reduction targets using one of four specified methods.
Multiple dry years, environmental problems, and growing pressure on the state’s water storage and delivery system are some of the key factors driving the need for conservation.
Our population continues to grow, adding more demand on our resources. Climate change already is affecting our water resources, and could reduce our mountain snowpack – a key source of water for California – by at least 25% by 2050.
Conservation is one tool in the toolbox for meeting the state’s growing demand for water as supplies become more and more limited.
Local water agencies offer programs to help their customers use water efficiently and to make water-smart home improvement and landscaping decisions. Investments in conservation have allowed Southern California, for example, to use roughly the same amount of water today that it used two decades ago, despite tremendous population growth.
But even aggressive local conservation programs cannot entirely offset the effects of multiple dry years, climate change and recent reductions in water deliveries to protect species.
Save Our Water
In 2009, ACWA partnered with the California Department of Water Resources to launch “Save Our Water,” a public education program about water conservation and easy ways to cut back on the amount of water we use. For more information about the program, visit www.saveourh2o.org.
Conservation Requirements by Local Water Agencies
ACWA is tracking the actions taken by local water agencies in response to drought conditions and water supply shortages. While some agencies are requesting voluntary water conservation from their customers, many have made their requests mandatory and are enforcing them through increased rates, drought surcharges, and other means. See what the major public water agencies in California are doing in 2010 to stretch their supplies.
New Efficiency Requirements Ahead for Agricultural Water Suppliers
As a result of the comprehensive water package passed in 2009, agricultural water suppliers are facing a number of new water use efficiency requirements in the coming months and years.
From agricultural water measurement regulations, to standardized reporting forms and statewide targets, the requirements contained in the legislation known as SBX7 7 are complex, varied and often have competing deadlines.
To help its members keep track of the many moving parts and timelines, ACWA has developed an overview of the new regulations and requirements.
What You Can Do
With water shortages a reality in many parts of the state, your efforts to save water can make a difference. Rethinking the way you use water – both indoors and outdoors – will help stretch our limited supplies and ensure water is there when we need it.
Simple things you can do in your daily life can save water. If we all work together, we can make a difference for California’s future.
Top 10 Tips for Conservation
1. Take shorter showers
2. Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth
3. Water your lawn only when it needs it
4. Use a broom to clean driveways and sidewalks
5. Adjust sprinklers so they don’t water driveways and sidewalks
6. Only wash full loads of laundry
7. Run the dishwasher only when full
8. Fix leaky faucets and toilets
9. Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose
10. Plant California-friendly trees and plants