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For Immediate Release                                                                                   Contact: George Kostyrko
July 15, 2014                                                                                                                         (916)
341-7365

In response to the ongoing
severe drought, on Tuesday the
State Water Resources Control Board approved
an emergency regulation to ensure water agencies,
their customers and state residents increase
water conservation in
urban settings or face
possible fines or other enforcement.

The
new conservation regulation is
intended to reduce outdoor urban water use. The
regulation, adopted by the
State Water Board, mandates minimum actions to
conserve water supplies
both for this year
and into 2015.  Most Californians
use
more water outdoors than indoors.
 In some areas, 50
percent or more of daily water use is
for lawns and
outdoor landscaping.

Many
communities and water suppliers have
taken bold steps over the years
and in this year to reduce water use; however, many have not and
much more can and should be done
statewide to extend diminishing water supplies.

With this regulation, all Californians will
be expected to stop: washing down
driveways and sidewalks; watering
of
outdoor landscapes that cause
excess runoff; using a
hose to wash a motor vehicle,
unless the hose is fitted
with a shut-off nozzle,
and using potable
water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless
the
water is recirculated.  The regulation makes an exception for health and safety circumstances.

Larger water suppliers will be
required to activate their Water Shortage
Contingency Plan to a level where
outdoor irrigation restrictions are mandatory.
 In communities where no water shortage
contingency plan exists, the regulation
requires that water suppliers either limit outdoor irrigation
to twice
a week or
implement other comparable
conservation actions. Finally,
large water suppliers
must report water use on
a monthly basis to track progress.

Local
agencies could ask courts to fine water users up to
$500 a day for failure to implement conservation requirements in addition to their existing authorities and
processes. The State Water
Board could initiate enforcement actions against water agencies that don’t comply with
the new

regulations.
 Failure to comply with a State Water Board enforcement order
by water agencies is subject to up to a $10,000 a
day penalty.

“We are facing the worst drought impact
that we or our
grandparents have ever seen,”
said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus.
 â€œAnd, more important, we
have no idea when
it
will end. This drought’s
impacts are being felt by communities all
over California.  Fields are
fallowed; communities are
running out of water, fish
and
wildlife will be
devastated.  The
least that urban Californians can do
is to not waste water on outdoor uses. It is in
their self-interest to conserve
more, now, to avoid far more harsh restrictions, if the drought
lasts into the future. These regulations are meant to spark
awareness of the
seriousness of the situation, and
could be expanded
if
the drought wears on
and people do not act.”

In addition to approving the
emergency conservation regulation today, the State
Water Board made a plea for
water suppliers, communities and
businesses to do even
more. For example, water agencies are
being asked to step up
their programs to fix leaks and
other sources of water loss, use more
recycled water or
captured stormwater, and find additional ways
to incentivize demand
reduction among their customers.

The
new regulation was developed following two drought
emergency declarations by Governor Brown. On
January 17, Governor Edmund
G. Brown
Jr. issued
a drought emergency proclamation following
three dry or critically dry years in California.

The
April 25 Executive Order issued
by the Governor directs the
State Water Board to adopt an emergency regulation as it deems necessary, pursuant to Water Code
section 1058.5, to
ensure that urban water suppliers
implement conservation measures.

As drought conditions continue, the
State Water Board may revisit this regulation
and consider other measures to
enhance conservation efforts throughout the state.

Following
Board adoption, the
regulation will likely go into effect on or about August 1,
following submittal
to the Office of Administrative Law. The emergency
regulation remains in
effect for 270 days, unless
extended by the State Water
Board due to ongoing drought conditions.

For more information on the proposals leading to this Board
action, please visit the Emergency  Water Conservation website.

Governor
Brown has called on all Californians to
reduce their water use by 20
percent and prevent water waste
– visit SaveOurH2O.org to find out
how everyone can do their part, and visit

Drought.CA.Govto
learn more about how California
is dealing with
the
effects of the
drought.