Gavin Newsom says that if local water agencies don’t crack down harder on water usage, he’s going to start levying mandatory water restrictions all over the state.
The meetings of the California State Water Board are generally not very interesting. nor do they generate much news. Tuesday’s meeting may be different. The board will consider what Governor Gavin Newsom’s office calls a “ban on watering of non-functional turf” statewide at commercial and industrial sites, and as the Chronicle reports, the possibility of eventually levying mandatory water restrictions at every local water district in the state.
“Every water agency across the state needs to take more aggressive actions to communicate about the drought emergency and implement conservation measures,” Newsom said in a release about his Monday meeting with those local water agencies. “Californians made significant changes since the last drought but we have seen an uptick in water use, especially as we enter the summer months. We all have to be more thoughtful about how to make every drop count.”
The ban on watering non-functional turf is pretty cut-and-dry (pardon the expression), it would go into effect June 10 if passed. This does not cover residential lawn watering, though several southwest California water districts have already banned residential lawn watering.
Newsom’s potential statewide restrictions are looking a little more opaque. The Associated Press reports that Newsom will “meet with the water agencies again in two months” to “reassess conservation progress" but explicit next steps were unclear.
California usually gets most of its rain in January through March, and obviously, we didn't get much this year. And after Newsom called on Californians to reduce their water usage by 15% last summer, the Bay Area managed to reduce its water use, but not even by 2%. Meanwhile, many parts of the state actually increased their water usage.
If you want to get a jump on this, and hopefully avoid the restrictions, the governor’s office recommends limiting your outdoor watering, taking shorter showers and not taking baths, using brooms instead of water hoses to clean patios and sidewalks, and washing fuller laundry loads instead of smaller loads.
Image: Office of the Governor