ADVERTISEMENT
06-06-22 | News

New California Drought Restrictions

State Water Resources Control Board announces statewide bans surrounding watering
by Staff

The U.S. Draught Monitor from the National Integrated Draught Information System reports that a significant portion of the West Coast is experiencing draught, especially California. The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC.

In response to the ongoing and severe drought in California, the State Water Resources Control Board has announced new proposed guidelines surrounding restricted watering that will go into effect on June 10th. This proposed statewide ban would prevent watering "non-functional turf", which is defined as any grass that is solely for decoration and has no utility towards recreation, on commercial and industrial properties. This ban would not apply to residential properties.
As well as this proposed ban, regional water districts are thinking about enacting even tighter restraints on water usage to both homeowners and commercial areas around California. The Los Angeles area has already adopted some of these rules, as set out by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In many jurisdictions, the rules limit outdoor watering to one day a week, whereas some areas went with a flat volume limit instead.
Governor Gavin Newsom said, "Every water agency across the state needs to take more aggressive actions to communicate about the drought emergency and implement conservation measures."
California has a history of draught, and when an especially strong one struck in 1990 in San Diego, the region's water authority took action. San Diego County negotiated to get water from the Colorado River, it reduced agriculture watering, raised dams to increase water storage, and provided rebates to homeowners who installed water-efficient lawns.
They even invested in a large desalination plant, that while expensive, is not affected by environmental issues. Due to all of this, San Diego is in a unique situation compared to the rest of California; the draught that is heavily affecting the rest of the state is not a terrible issue for them, as San Diego has an abundance, albeit an expensive one, of water.
There are a number of reservoirs throughout California that supply water for the state's population that have been heavily affected by this draught. The state's largest reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville, as well as the Colorado River Basin are all lower than they have ever been at this time of year. Shasta Lake is down to 40 percent capacity and Lake Oroville is down to 54 percent.

img
 
The current breakdown for water usage in California is 50 percent for the environment, things like rivers and marshes that are protected, 40 percent for agriculture, and 10 percent for urban use. Of that urban use, you can break it down further to residential, commercial, and industrial. Of the residential water usage in California, 50 percent can be attributed to landscaping.

The proposed rules will affect every area here, thus water facilities will need to adjust the amount of water they let homeowners, commercial and industrial workers, and farmers use. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, "In urban areas, the greatest potential for further water savings lies in long-term reductions in landscape irrigation-a shift requiring changes in plantings and watering habits."
The Irrigation Association, as well as the CLCA, NALP, and Maureen Erbeznik & Associates are hosting a webinar on June 6 at 1 P.M. to inform landscape and irrigation professionals on how to deal with these new restrictions.

Webinar: https://clca.org/news/industry-webinar-california-drought-new-water-restrictions/
Overview of restrictions: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/06/01/drought-california-water-restriction/
San Diego Draught tolerance: https://apnews.com/article/california-droughts-environment-san-diego-81ab84fafe94a0c5c298ede24fd2f7f1
Reservoir Statuses: https://www.rosevilletoday.com/news/roseville/californias-10-largest-reservoirs-drought-status/
Water Use Percentages:
https://www.ppic.org/publication/water-use-in-california/#:~:text=Water%20in%20California%20is%20shared,between%20wet%20and%20dry%20years.
Landscape water usage:
https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/california/drought-tolerant-landscape-state-water-usage-issues/103-54ee58a4-8bfb-40e8-b0e7-e4080544707b
Most Recent Government Water Plan:
https://water.ca.gov/programs/california-water-plan/update-2018

img

Sign up for
LAWeekly newsletter. Get exclusive content today.