New Water Use Efficiency Laws Mark Progress in Making Water Conservation a Way of Life in California

  • by Timothy Quinn
  • Jun 7, 2018
  • Voices on Water

Recently, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law two water-use efficiency bills. From ACWA’s perspective, this allows us to check the box next to “conservation as a way of life in California” and take another key step forward in implementing the governor’s California Water Action Plan.

This also marks the end of a major debate on long-term water efficiency and conservation. This debate was never about whether we should conserve, but how we should conserve. ACWA member agencies have been on the forefront of water-use efficiency efforts for decades. We advocated for key amendments to these bills and, although not all of them were accepted, the final legislation is much improved compared to the initial drafts. This includes more recognition of local autonomy and authority, and incentives for recycled water use.

Now that SB 606 and AB 1668 have been signed into law, ACWA is working closely with member agencies to ensure they can assess how the new requirements will affect them, including the timeline for implementation. One key issue that is widely misunderstood needs to be clarified. The new requirements do not restrict daily water use by individual customers, as has been erroneously reported by some.  Instead it requires water agencies to develop agency-wide water budgets, with local agencies determining how best to keep aggregate water use in their communities below agency-wide efficient water use targets.

This is a far cry from a few years ago when the state mandated across-the-board, one-size-fits-all water reductions throughout the state on a percentage basis, ignoring regional differences in supply, climate and geography. What we have now is a far more sophisticated system that recognizes differences between agencies and provides them with some leeway to meet goals through target setting. As an added benefit, the legislation also establishes incentives for recycled water use, which is a key element of an “all of the above” strategy for our sustainable water future.

California continues to rise to our water management challenges, and local water agencies will continue to lead the way. This new law and the process to implement it deserves the full cooperation of the water community as we continue making water conservation a way of life in California.

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Overview Presentations: Water Conservation/Water Use Efficiency Laws of 2018 (AB 1668/SB 606) and Implementation Challenges

State Overview by Peter Brostrom, Department of Water Resources (May 2019) Implementations Challenges by David Bolland, ACWA (May 2019) A […]

May 2019 Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

COMMENT LETTER: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposed Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. […]

California H2O: Flowing for the Future

ACWA and J Comm, Inc. have collaborated to create a 10-part video series to educate Californians about critical water issues. […]

Energy and Water Resources Policy Principles

In January 2019, ACWA released policy principles on “Energy and Water Resources” in California. The updated principles will help guide […]

ACWA’s 2019 Spring Legal Briefing and CLE Workshop Materials

The following presentations and materials for ACWA’s 2019 Legal Briefing and CLE Workshop on May. 7 from 9 a.m. to […]

ACWA Suggested Guidelines for 2019 Triennial Reporting of Public Health Goal Exceedance in Drinking Water

Agency: Public Water Systems and State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water Subject: Suggested Guidelines for Preparation of Required […]

Executive Director Dave Eggerton Congressional Testimony on Western Water Infrastructure

Agency: House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subject: State of Western Water Infrastructure in Innovation Testimony excerpt:  It is critical […]

Coalition Letter Supporting NPDES Permit Legislation

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

March 2019 Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program Third Preliminary Draft Regulations

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Safe Drinking Water Trust Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter – OEHHA Draft Report on Human Right to Water

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter – Options for Implementation of a Statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program

Agency: California State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Options for Implementation of a Statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program Letter excerpt:  […]

2019 Legislative Outreach Toolkit

To assist  members in communicating and engaging with their legislative representatives, ACWA has published a 2019 Legislative Outreach Toolkit. Toolkit […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees Take Action on SB 669, Other Priority Water Bills

With a May 17 deadline for fiscal committees to meet and report to the floor bills introduced in their house, […]

Upper District Announces Winners of the 2019 “Water is Life” Student Art Contest

MONROVIA – Today the Board of Directors for the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) honored 20 […]

Senate Proposes New Funding Alternative for Safe Drinking Water Solutions

Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 today rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget trailer bill language that proposes a water tax, instead […]

Board Approves Plan to Better Map Customers’ Irrigable Landscape as Part of Rate Study

The Palmdale Water District (PWD) Board of Directors voted unanimously Monday to hire an aerial mapping company to determine the […]

Water Authority Invites Gov. Newsom to Tour Facilities, Praises Approach to Water Security

Agency offers support: San Diego is proof ‘It can be done’ The San Diego County Water Authority today praised Gov. […]

EMWD Completes Shift to Smart Metering Technology

PERRIS — Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) has completed the installation of smart meters at all residential properties within its […]

CalEPA and The Climate Registry Launch Water-Energy Nexus Registry

SACRAMENTO – The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and The Climate Registry recently launched a Water-Energy Nexus Registry for organizations […]

Safe Drinking Water Trust Moves to Senate Appropriations Suspense File

The Senate Appropriations Committee today moved SB 669 (Caballero), the Safe Drinking Water Trust, to its Suspense Calendar. The bill, […]

ACWA Awards Five Undergraduate Scholarships for 2019-’20 Academic Year

ACWA  has awarded $22,000 in 2019-’20 academic year scholarships to five undergraduate students enrolled at California public universities who are […]

Santa Margarita Water District Selected for 2019 Clair A. Hill Agency Award for Excellence

ACWA presented the prestigious 2019 Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence to the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) […]

Longtime industry pro joins the team at South Coast Water District

South Coast Water District (SCWD) is pleased to announce Mr. Marc Serna recently joined the executive management team at the […]

Water Tax Bill Moves to Appropriations Suspense Calendar

The Assembly Appropriations Committee today moved AB 217 (E. Garcia), which proposed a water tax on public water systems, to […]

ACWA Presents Leadership Award to Dr. David Kimbrough

ACWA presented the 2019 Excellence in Water Leadership Award to Dr. David Kimbrough, Water Quality Manager at Pasadena Water and […]

County of Riverside commends EVMWD for Promoting Sustainable Practices

LAKE ELSINORE —Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD) was selected as the Riverside County Board of Supervisors’ 1st District recipient […]

Upper District and Cal American Tap into the Source

MONROVIA – May 3, the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) held a ribbon cutting for two […]