State Water Board adopts emergency water use regulations to boost drought resilience

Statewide prohibitions to remain in place for a year.

As climate change-fuelled extreme weather continues to disrupt the water system, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency regulation that prohibits certain wasteful water use practices statewide and encourages Californians to monitor their water use more closely while building habits to use water wisely.

Among the wasteful water practices included are irrigating ornamental landscapes when it’s raining, using potable water to clean hard surfaces or driveways, and the use of ornamental fountains. The regulation stems from Governer’s Newsom’s Emergency Drought Proclamation last October, which expanded the drought emergency statewide and encouraged the State Water Board to supplement voluntary conservation measures by prohibiting certain wasteful water uses. Prohibited use regulations are not new in California. Similar regulations were in place during the state’s last severe drought. In some areas, they were made permanent through local action.

E. Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Board, said: “Climate change is challenging us to build drought resilience in our water infrastructure and management practices and at an individual level in our daily habits. Prohibiting wasteful water practices increases awareness of water as a precious resource no matter what type of weather we are experiencing in a given moment, because weather extremes are now part of our climate reality.”