Published: January 12, 2016

    Water Waste Regulations in California could be Permanent

    Dec_Blog3_Policies_2015The rules and regulations passed to curb the severity of the drought may be permanent. Unprecedented water preservation ordinances passed in March earlier this year have been wildly successful. When the regulations were passed, the ultimate goal was to reduce California’s water consumption by 25 percent. In the four months that the water consumption in the state has been tracked in relation to the drought, citizens have collectively managed to cut water consumption by an astounding 28.1 percent, according to Breitbart.com. If the current calculations are correct, California has reached 70 percent of its goal in just a matter of four months of conservation.

    The regulations that Governor Jerry Brown approved in March range from household habits to car washing limitations. As CBS reports, these regulations are logical and well within realistic goals for businesses and private citizens. Restaurants must be asked to serve water by a customer before bringing a complimentary glass. Places in which the watering of lawns has no restrictions are now limited to bi-weekly sprinkling or irrigating. Californians cannot wash down driveways or wash cars on their property utilizing a hose without a nozzle. Restrictions like these have mostly been effectively adopted in California.

    However, in true form, some higher-income cities are fighting the restrictions, and agencies rarely enforce the steep penalties and fines. Cities like Beverly Hills and Redlands have recently been fined $61,000 by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Chris Carrigan, an Office of Enforcement Director at the SWRCB, states that these urban centers are doing “too little too late” to quell water waste in their residential areas. The continued overuse of water in these areas demonstrates how difficult temporary regulations can be to enforce as they seem a momentary inconvenience rather than a concrete law.

    Due to the far-reaching success of the regulations and the issues highlighted by non-cooperative cities like Beverly Hills, the SWRCB has decided to convene a public hearing in December to decide whether to make the new water usage regulations permanent even once the drought has abated (if it does). SWRCB chairman Felicia Marcus stated that the water regulations are “[a] good use of a precious resource” in the San Jose Mercury News. She went on to say “It’s just common sense.”

    Sara Aminzadeh, the executive director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, echoed these sentiments in an interview with the Mercury News. She stated that regardless of the presence of a drought, practices that encourage water waste are never acceptable. The permanent adoption of the new regulations would be a natural progression to keep the state’s water supply as healthy and robust as possible.

    As soon as January the board could vote to extend the regulations to April or further. In the summer there would be another public hearing to vote on the permanence and adoption of these regulations going forward, according to the Mercury News. While it’s taking place several years after such rules would have been truly beneficial, any action related to the drought should be viewed as better late than never.

    You can also do your part to keep down your water usage. Avoid purchasing bottled water altogether to reduce water and plastic waste. Keeping filtered water on hand in Pelican water table bottles to reduce the amount of tap water wasted during meals. Every step is step towards conservation and rebuilding our water supply.