State Water Board Expands and Extends Emergency Water Conservation Regulation

As the drought continues, California expands and extends water conservation regulations across the board. Individuals and businesses alike are affected. Avoid hefty citations! Learn about the new regulations by reading the press release below.


CA water board



As California enters a fourth year of severe drought, the state’s current water supply conditions are sobering and the future is looking grim. On March 17, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted and expanded emergency regulations to safeguard the state’s remaining water supplies.

“We are experiencing the lowest snowpack and the driest January in recorded history, and communities around the state are already suffering severely from the prior three years of drought,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “If the drought continues through next winter and we do not conserve more — the consequences could be even more catastrophic than they already are. Today’s action is just a tune-up and a reminder to act, and we will consider more significant actions in the weeks to come.”

Amongst some of the changes, the expanded regulation includes new restrictions for outdoor irrigation. Large urban water suppliers must now limit outdoor irrigation to two days per week unless a days-per-week limit is outlined in their drought contingency plan. The Board amended the regulation at the hearing to allow water suppliers 45 days (increased from 30 days) to make amendments if a limit doesn’t currently exist in their plan. The new regulation did not change the ability for suppliers with allocation-based rate structures to submit to the Water Board for approval an alternative plan satisfying this provision.

Water agencies will also be required to notify customers when they are aware of leaks that are within the customer’s control. Finally, monthly reporting requirements will be expanded to include the limit on days for outdoor irrigation and a description of compliance and enforcement efforts.

Other new provisions affecting commercial businesses include:

  • Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water upon request.
  • Hotels and motels must offer guests the option of choosing to not have towels and linens washed every day and prominently display notice of this option.
  • Outdoor watering will now be prohibited during – and up to 48-hours after – measureable

For a list of current regulations, see below:


What’s Prohibited for Everyone

  • Using potable water to wash sidewalks & driveways
  • Runoff when irrigating with potable water
  • Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars
  • Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water
  • Using outdoor irrigation during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation

What’s Required for Business

  • Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers on request
  • Hotels and Motels must provide guests with the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display notice of this option

What Water Suppliers Must Do

  • Impose restrictions on outdoor irrigation
  • Notify customers about leaks that are within the customer’s control
  • Report on water use monthly
  • Report on compliance and enforcement

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