California adopts new restrictions on water usage

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Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 22:51:51-05

On Tuesday, the California State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency regulation that prohibits certain wasteful water use practices statewide.

This mandate will be in place for a year but can be ended or extended at the discretion of the board.

Since the start of the rainy season, which begins in October, we have seen rainfall totals well above average.

"Paso, for example, is 200% above normal. San Luis Obispo 175% above normal so that’s like double the amount we should have for this time of year," explained Eric Boldt, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Though those numbers are promising, we have seen progress on the drought monitor. What we really need to get out of the drought is consistent rainfall.

"I don’t think there's a magic number to put on it but we need to see average or above average rain for several years in a row to really take care of the drought," Bolt said.

While the first couple of months of the rainy season have been promising, January is already forecast to be dry.

That's why the California State Water Resources Board is prohibiting the use of water for the following actions:

  1. The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes more than incidental runoff
  2. Washing vehicles without an automatic shutoff nozzle on the hose
  3. Washing impervious areas
  4. Street cleaning or construction site prep
  5. Decorative fountains, lakes, or ponds
  6. Irrigating turf and ornamental landscapes within 48 hours of ¼” rain
  7. Irrigating turf on public medians

"It's prohibiting certain things that we feel just doesn’t make sense in a drought," explained James Nachbaur, a board member for California's Water Resources.

The prohibitions apply to specific uses and apply to all water users, including individuals, businesses and public agencies, and can be enforced through warning letters, water audits or fines. The prohibitions will remain in place for one year unless extended, modified or removed.