Governor Approves Conservation Legislation

Display Picture

 On May 31st Governor Brown signed legislation (SB 606 - Hertzberg and AB 1668 - Friedman) intended to help the state better prepare for droughts and climate change by establishing statewide water efficiency standards. 

What does this mean for you, the water customer?  Well, not much for now.

However, in the future, San Juan Water District will have new water production targets to meet that might be more restrictive than the 20 by 2020 program adopted by the Legislature in 2009.Our initial assessment is that if our customers continue their current good practices and continue to use water efficiently, impacts to the individual homeowner should be relatively minimal and San Juan should have no trouble meeting the new production targets. View the implementation schedule here:

Bills-Implementation-Timeline-Updated-07-11-18.pdf

The new requirements do mean more immediate burdens on San Juan with regard to the gathering of data, changes to planning requirements, reporting of data and plans, and increased monitoring of overall water use by San Juan customers in the retail and wholesale service areas. 

While there are significant new planning and reporting requirements that San Juan will have to satisfy, below is a short summary of the changes most pertinent to you, the water user.

The new laws essentially establish a requirement that beginning in 2022, San Juan and every other water supplier in the state (and their customers) will have to meet an annual water production target that is based on the following planning standards:

(1) indoor residential use of an average of  55 gallons per person per day until January 1, 2025, when it will drop to 52.5 gallons for five years and then drop again to 50 gallons in 2030;

(2) outdoor residential and commercial landscape water use that is based on the areas of each property that can be irrigated, when the landscape was installed and the local climate;

(3) commercial and industrial water use using standards to be developed for each type of use; and,

(4) a maximum allowance for water loss in a distribution system, e.g. from leaks.

State agencies are required to analyze data and make recommendations for the planning standards in items 2, 3 and 4 above by October 1, 2021.  Using those recommendations, the State Water Resources Control Board is to establish long-term urban water efficiency standards by June 30, 2022.  Using these planning standards, San Juan will calculate by November 1, 2023 what its water production target is, and then will have until 2027 to meet that target.  At that point, all water agencies that don’t meet their targets will be potentially subject to penalties by the State Water Board.  San Juan will have to update its water production target annually, to factor in any changes to population, landscapes or commercial and industrial users.

The new laws also address agricultural water use, particularly with respect to improving efficiencies and increasing reporting requirements in that sector as well.

Finally, in addition to expanding informational requirements in Urban Water Management Plans (produced by water agencies every five years), there are also new and more stringent elements to water shortage contingency planning and reporting requirements.

For more detailed information, here are links to the bills signed by the Governor, and their legislative analyses: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB606 and http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB1668.