In 2018 Governor Brown signed two bills which will have a major impact on water use in our state. AB 1668 and SB 606, which I opposed, created stringent water use mandates for all Californians.
One regulation involves a 55 gallon per day indoor water use limit. Contrary to some news reports, this is not an individual mandate. No one will be told they can’t take a shower or do laundry on the same day. The 55-gallon mandate requires water suppliers to meet that standard over the entire agency. Penalties for violations of these standards will fall directly on the agency, not individual customers.
Even so, ratepayers will be heavily impacted. Penalties (up to $1,000 per day) that are assessed against water agencies will be passed on to all water ratepayers in the district. Conservation measures forced on the agency will also directly impact its customers. Additional standards for outdoor water use, based on vegetation, climate and other factors, will eventually be determined by the State Water Resources Control Board. No doubt those standards will also involve new penalties and restrictions.
This legislation’s stated purpose was to “make conservation a way of life,” even during wet years when trillions of gallons are flowing out to sea. But a top-down, Sacramento-imposed water mandate is totally unnecessary. Why have we spent billions locally to divorce ourselves from Northern California water if we’re going to be subjected to the same penalties and restrictions as other regions that have made no effort to conserve?
Individuals using more than 55 gallons a day are not causing a water shortage. Lack of political will to build new reservoirs, aqueducts, recycling is the real culprit. Californians should not be punished for the lack of common sense in Sacramento.
Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.