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State Water Board Issues Notice to Amend and Readopt Emergency Drought Water Conservation Regulations

Client Alert

In July 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) adopted emergency regulations that prohibited all individuals from engaging in certain water use practices and required mandatory conservation-related actions of public water suppliers during the current drought emergency.  The regulations became effective July 28, 2014 and are currently set to expire on April 25, 2015, absent further action.

On March 6, 2015, a notice was issued stating that on March 17 the State Water Board will consider a resolution to readopt the existing emergency regulations with some updates, for an additional 270 days.  In addition to continuing the requirements contained in the existing emergency regulations, the following updates are proposed:

  • A prohibition on irrigation of turf or ornamental landscapes during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation.
  • Hospitality sector restrictions requiring that water only be served on request in restaurants and bars, and requiring the operators of hotels and motels to offer patrons the option of not having their towels and linens washed daily.
  • A requirement for urban water suppliers that do not already have a limit on the number of days that outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water is allowed, to limit such irrigation to no more than two days per week.
  • A requirement that urban water suppliers promptly notify their customers when they are aware of leaks within the customer’s control.
  • Additional reporting requirements for urban water suppliers on compliance and enforcement efforts being undertaken within their service areas.
  • Clarification that small urban water suppliers are required to limit outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water to no more than two days per week or implement other mandatory conservation measures intended to achieve a 20 percent reduction in water consumption.

The enforcement of these proposed provisions remains an area of uncertainty for which each agency should consult legal counsel.  The proposed text is available here:

www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/agendas/2015/mar/031715_7_proposed_emergency_regs.pdf

For further information, please contact June Ailin or Miles P. Hogan from Aleshire & Wynder, LLP’s Water Practice Group at (949) 223-1170.

Disclaimer:  Aleshire & Wynder, LLP legal alerts are not intended as legal advice.  Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein.  Please seek legal advice before acting or relying upon any information in this communication.