On May 5, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) adopted Emergency Regulations implementing a statewide 25% reduction of potable urban water use, which includes commercial, industrial, and institutional water use, in addition to residential water use. These regulations are in response to Governor Brown’s April 1, 2015 Executive Order mandating a statewide 25% reduction in water use from June 2015 through February 2016, as compared to the same months in 2013. These regulations apply to all urban water suppliers, as defined in Water Code section 10617, excluding wholesalers.
To achieve the 25% statewide reduction in potable urban water use, the Water Board requires those areas with high per capita water use to achieve proportionally greater reductions than those with low use. The Water Board assigned each urban water supplier to one of nine tiers depending on the per capita water use in the supplier’s distribution area. Suppliers with the highest per capita water use must reduce water consumption by as much as 36%, while suppliers with the lowest water use must reduce water consumption by only 8%. Upon meeting certain requirements and approval by the Executive Director of the Water Board, some suppliers may qualify to be placed in a special tier requiring only a 4% reduction. Small water suppliers, defined as those with fewer than 3,000 service connections, must achieve a 25% reduction in water use or restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week. Water suppliers are left to obtain these results through local restrictions on both residential and non-residential users.
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