What the New Water-Use Efficiency Law Means for You
And Yes, You Can Shower and do a Load of Laundry on the Same Day without Getting Fined
On May 31, 2018, Gov. Brown signed two bills into law – Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668 – that establish permanent water use restrictions throughout California. These laws require the Otay Water District and other urban water suppliers to set and comply with annual water use targets based on three factors:
- An allowance for customers of 55 gallons per person per day for indoor water use
- A yet-to-be determined allowance for customers for outdoor water use
- A cap on water distribution system leaks
There are no immediate impacts to residents or businesses from these laws. Also, they DO NOT impose individual mandates or fines on homeowners or businesses. Fines apply to the urban water provider and not to individuals. Rumor has it that there is an immediate mandate for individuals to reduce indoor water use to 55 gallons per person and to avoid showering and doing laundry on the same day. That is not true!
The District and other water providers will work with the State Water Resources Control Board over the next several years to define how the new laws will be implemented. These laws outline an overall framework to guide urban water providers, like Otay, in setting water use targets, which must be approved by the State Water Board. However, urban water providers will determine how their service area can best achieve the new water use target. Urban water providers will set and monitor targets for their service area as a whole and will determine how to help their customers collectively reach the new targets. Urban water providers who do not meet their targets can be fined by the State Water Board (up to $1,000 per day during non-drought years and $10,000 per day during drought emergencies).
Otay customers should note that their water use may already be 55 gallons or less per person per day indoors. The average daily water use of Otay customers since January 2018 — indoor and outdoor use combined — is approximately 76 gallons per person.
According to the State Water Board, beginning in 2023, the indoor water use standard will be 55 gallons per capita daily (GPCD) until January 2025. The standard will become stronger over time, decreasing to 50 GPCD in January 2030. The outdoor water use standard will be based on land cover, climate, and other factors determined by the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board. The State Water Board will adopt the outdoor standard by June 2022.
For more details, click here.