Water Conservation Requirements (SBX7 7)

The 2009 legislative package requires a statewide 20% reduction in urban per capita water use by 2020. It requires that urban water retail suppliers determine baseline water use and set reduction targets according to specified requirements, and requires agricultural water suppliers prepare plans and implement efficient water management practices.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is required to adopt an alternative method for setting targets through a public process. DWR, in consultation with the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC), is to develop standardized technical methodologies and criteria for calculating per capita water use, baseline use, population and other analytical metrics. DWR is also directed to convene a representative Commercial, Industrial and Institutional (CII) Task Force to develop standard metrics and best management practices (BMPs) for CII water use.

How will it affect California water utilities?

  • Urban retail water suppliers (3000 service connections or sales of 3000 acre feet per year) must determine their base per capita water use and develop water use reduction targets using one of four specified methods
  • Option 1: 80% of baseline use
  • Option 2: Sum of specified performance standards
  • Option 3: 95% of DWR Hydrologic Region target from draft 20X2020 Plan
  • Option 4: A flexible alternative designed to adjust to local circumstances
  • Urban retail water suppliers must monitor and report compliance on an individual or regional basis.
  • Individual urban retail water suppliers are not required to achieve a reduction in urban per capita water use greater than 20 percent
  • Compliance is required for continued state water grants and loan eligibility.
  • After 2021, failure of urban retail water suppliers to meet their targets establishes a violation of law for administrative or judicial proceedings.
  • Agricultural water suppliers (10,000 or more irrigated acres) must implement specified efficient water management practices (including volumetric measurement and pricing), and must prepare, adopt and periodically revise agricultural water management plans (AWMPs).

What are the compliance deadlines for the legislation?

Urban Water Suppliers

  • DWR must convene the CII Task Force with CUWCC by April 1, 2010 and report to Legislature April 1, 2012
  • DWR must post methodologies and criteria on its website by October 1, 2010.
  • DWR must develop and adopt the alternative target-setting method (Option 4) report to the Legislature by December 31, 2010 (update December 31, 2014)
  • Agencies must include in their urban water management plans (UWMPs) baseline water use, reduction targets, and compliance analyses. 2010 UWMPs are not due until July 1, 2011. Agencies should expect to implement CII TF metrics, BMP’s and recommendations in their 2015 UWMPs.
  • The state must achieve 10% cumulative urban per capita water use reduction by December 31, 2015
  • Agencies that are not in compliance by July 1, 2016 are not eligible for state water grants and loans.
  • The state must achieve 20% cumulative urban per capita water use reduction by December 31, 2020
  • Agency failure to meet targets establishes a violation of law for administrative or judicial proceedings after January 1, 2021

Agricultural Water Suppliers

  • Agricultural water suppliers must implement specified efficient water management practices by July 31, 2012, and prepare and adopt AWMPs by December 21, 2012, updating those plans by December 31, 2015 and every 5 years thereafter
  • Agricultural water suppliers that are not in compliance by July 1, 2013 are not eligible for state water grants and loans.
  • See a comprehensive overview of the new rules and regulations in place for agricultural water suppliers.

 

ACWA’s Implementation Activities

An ACWA workgroup has proposed an approach to implementing Option 4. The proposal, described in a whitepaper submitted to DWR, was vetted with a larger group of interested water leaders and will be used in meetings with DWR staff and in the public process to ensure that an acceptable compliance alternative is adopted.

ACWA will be participating in the DWR/CUWCC analytical metrics process, and engaging in the CII Task Force process starting in April.

ACWA will release a comprehensive Implementation Roadmap in 2010, and is working with the Agricultural Water Management Council to support preparation of AWMPs.

Urban agencies should immediately determine which target-setting option they expect to use, coordinate with regional groups, and organize their UWMP revision process to comply with this legislation.

Ag agencies should prepare (or revise) AWMPs to document compliance.

ACWA staff welcomes your input on implementation of the water conservation legislation. If you have comments, suggestions or questions, please contact David Bolland, ACWA Senior Regulatory Advocate, at 916-441-4545