By Sara Jerome,
When California Governor Jerry Brown signaled lifted emergency conservation measures last year, many environmentalists worried that water savings achieved during the drought would dry up.
Brown himself warned that Californians must continue conserving.
"This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner," Brown said at the time, per The Los Angeles Times. "Conservation must remain a way of life."
Now, Brown has signed two laws that will make conservation measures permanent.
“Gov. Jerry Brown signed a pair of bills to set permanent overall targets for indoor and outdoor water consumption. Assembly Bill 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, and Senate Bill 606 from state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Los Angeles, give water districts more flexibility than the strict cuts mandated under Brown’s emergency drought order and will eventually allow state regulators to assess thousands of dollars in fines against jurisdictions that do not meet the goals,” The Sacramento Bee reported.
The laws will phase in gradually. By 2022, the indoor use limit becomes 55 gallons per day per person. By 2030, it drops to 50.
The California Department of Water Resources is planning to recommend standards for outdoor use by 2021, the report said.
“The new laws make it likely that water agencies will need to offer more rebates for homeowners and business owners who replace lawns with drought-tolerant plants and who purchase water efficient appliances. The agencies could also limit the hours and days of lawn watering, even when droughts are not occurring,” The San Jose Mercury News reported.
Katie Evans, the director of communications for the Coachella Valley Water District, discussed the new laws with KMIR.
“So, it is not true that if you take a shower and do laundry on the same day we will show up on your door and fine you. That is definitely false,” Evans said. “What is true is that we are going to ask more people to be more conscious of their water use over the year.”