The State Water Resources Control Board is considering reinstating and making permanent many of the water restrictions that California enacted during the recent five-year dry spell.
These regulations would potentially impose a $500 fine for wasteful water runoff practices, such as watering landscaping within 48 hours of rainfall or washing a car with a hose that has no shut-off valve. State Water officials say that the primary goal of these rules is to make water conservation a way of life in California.
State officials expect that California will endure longer and more severe dry periods as the planet continues to warm. This past “wet season” has been one of the driest to date. Prior to this week's snowfall, the snowpack across the Sierra Nevada mountain range measured at just 20 percent of average. Most of the state’s water supply originates in the Northern Sierras, and reservoirs depend on the melting snowpack in the spring and summer months.
The State Water Board’s governing panel was scheduled to adopt the regulation on water waste on February 20th, but it postponed the vote after a handful of water agencies raised concern about the state’s authority. While the board has the power to restrict “wasteful and unreasonable” water use, some agencies said that such a determination should be made on a case-by-case basis and that a blanket policy goes too far.
Babcock Laboratories will continue to keep you updated on drought-based water regulations as they affect California water agencies and residents alike.