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Posted on: January 22, 2020

Just the facts: correct information on California’s new water efficiency laws

RIVERSIDE, CA – Earlier this month, news media reports provided inaccurate information regarding water use targets set by Senate Bill 606 (Hertzberg) and Assembly Bill 1668 (Friedman).

On May 31, 2018, Governor Brown signed two bills which build on the ongoing efforts to “make water conservation a California way of life.” 

Neither bill sets fines on water customers for taking a shower and doing laundry on the same day. Instead, the adopted legislation emphasize efficiency and stretching existing water supplies as reported by local media. 

“The adoption of Western’s tiered rate structure in 2011 has put the District in a very good position to comply with the new legislation without any changes,” said Western’s General Manager Craig Miller. “As always, Western continuously promotes water efficiency and provides education programs and rebates for our customers, allowing them to stay within budget and reduce their water bill.” 

Below are facts on the long-term water efficiency legislation that was signed into effect May 2018. 

  • Water agencies are required to calculate a water efficiency standard for their entire service area annually based on indoor residential water use; outdoor water use; and commercial, industrial and institutional irrigation.
  • The standard of 55 gallons per person per day for indoor residential water use is not intended as an enforceable standard for individuals. It is one of several elements used to calculate the overall efficiency standard for a service area.
  • Individuals will not be responsible for State Water Resources Control Board fines. Instead, the State Water Board can fine water agencies up to $10,000 per day if the agency does not meet its cumulative standard.
  • There is no law against showering and doing laundry on the same day. There are no specific statewide laws that require individual households to meet any specific targets. The targets will be set for the water provider and are scheduled to go into effect in 2023.

“Western staff is participating in all of the State’s technical working groups to develop implementation plans for agencies’ water use targets,” continued Miller. 

For more information on this water efficiency legislation, view the State Water Board’s Fact Sheet. 

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Western Municipal Water District is one of the largest public agencies in Riverside County providing water and sewer services to nearly a million people, both retail and wholesale customers who live, work and play within 527-square miles in one of California’s most populous regions. 

State Water Board’s Fact Sheet
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