California – New Water Usage Laws In Effect – 55 Gallons Per Day or $1,000 Fine…

“A lot of questions have been raised about the 55-gallon per person / day, indoor water-use regulations (SB 606 and AB 1668), such as how do they track indoor water use or the number of people living in a household? Second, as you know right now, I’ll advise you that there’s an equal amount of uncertainty. Detailed plans are being developed over time (on the fly) on the basis of a vague outline called the’ Primer’ which was prepared by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Board to summarize the authorities, specifications and schedules in the new legislation. The State Water Board had to apply its recommendations by 1 January 2020.

There is currently no way to track individual indoor use, and there is no way to separate indoor watering from outdoor watering. The’ minimum’ for indoor use was set at 55 gallons per person per day in 2025 and 50 gallons per person per day by 2030. The first standard is to be adopted by June 2022 at the latest.

A method that has yet to be determined will also govern the use of outdoor watering. This will be determined by climate and area, how much land one has to irrigate, and will have provisions for pools, spas, fountains, water features, etc. It is unclear how all this will be done by suppliers for each water account, how it will be changed for new residential or commercial construction, or adapted for all variables-like changes in the number of members living in a ho Dedicated outdoor watering meters have been proposed, which would also provide an indoor number if there is already an overall usage meter in place. A water provider will determine how much water they think they lose with leaks or when pipes break.

The water agency must create a water budget that combines all use across its entire service area and then determine how it will meet this budget. If they go over, they may have to issue rebates to rip out lawns, low-flow installation credits, increase water rates, charge for installation of irrigation meters, or impose fines for too much use. It has not been determined how they will implement the water budget, but when they go over they will be subject to monthly reporting requirements and fined $1000 a day. The fee is $10,000 per day they go over if they surpass the target in a dry year. A whole new level of bureaucracy will also be developed.

Over time, the new laws water laws will ramp up. Suppliers must have indoor and outdoor watering caps for water use by the end of 2022. For fines beginning in November 2023, the new water allocations will be fully implemented.
It is not easy to me to try to determine the ultimate goal here. I can certainly see that we’re going to pay more for water because water suppliers are going to pass on users costs and fines. Suppliers ‘ paperwork will mean adding bodies to their payrolls. It will also incur costs / taxes to create a new governing body.

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