21 Jul California Water Conservation Goes to Next Step
As the state of California descends into an indefinite dry spell, extreme measures are being taken in order to conserve the maximum amount of water. With pleas from Governor Jerry Brown, California home owners had been encouraged to voluntarily cut water usage by as much as 20 percent. However, recent reports indicate that water usage across the state has only been reduced by about 5 percent, with increases noted in some areas, prompting many officials to resort to mandatory measures in order to reduce water usage.
The State Water Resources Control Board has recently been considering measures that would impose fines of up to $500 on people who blatantly waste water. These practices include spraying down sidewalks, washing cars or watering plants without a nozzle on the hose or allowing sprinklers to overflow lawns.
The proposed measure by the board would also give local law enforcement agencies the authority to issue citations to those who violate conservation measures. Officials and conservationists are insistent that these extreme measures are needed as the state prepares for one of the worst droughts on record.
“We are in a drought of historic proportions,” board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “Many urban water users don’t realize how bad this drought is. They’re not seeing the communities that are actually running out of water. … They don’t see the streams and creeks running dry.”
California Property Owners Turn to Long-Term Water Solutions
While the measures proposed by the State Water Resources Control Board offer up solutions to short-term water shortages, a new measure instituted by the California Retrofitting Law will make water conservation an important part of how homes are remodeled and constructed for the future years to come. According to the new law, which went into effect January 1 of this year, home owners who are working on remodels of their homes will be required to retrofit with water-friendly appliances.
The language of the law officially states that home owners who obtain permits to remodel a property that was built prior to 1994 are required to retrofit with toilets that use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, showerheads with flow rates of no more than 2.5 gallons per minute and other interior fixtures that use less than 2.2 gallons of water per minute. By January 2017, all residential properties in California built prior to 1994 will be required to be in compliance with water fixtures whether a remodel is in the works or not.
In addition to single-family homes, commercial and multifamily properties will also have to fall in line with these conservation measures. In cases where a remodel involves more than 10 percent of the square footage of the building, retrofitting with water-conserving appliances will be required. State officials are confident that these newer appliances will help home owners to conserve water on a daily basis and will help reduce the dangers of droughts in the future.