Correcting Myths about California’s Water Efficiency Laws

Posted on Jan 14, 2020

Correcting Myths about California’s Water Efficiency Laws

Recently, inaccurate information regarding a new water conservation law has been circulating in the news media and on social media.

It’s important to know that there is no law that specifies when or how often a person may shower or do laundry or that individuals will be fined for using more than a specified amount of water.

Instead, legislation signed into law in 2018 by Gov. Jerry Brown provides a framework for water utilities to set new, permanent water use targets by 2022 that combine:

  • An indoor standard of 55 gallons per person per day
  • An outdoor standard for residential and commercial customers based upon our local climate and the amount of landscaped area
  • A standard for water loss from leaks in the water system

While the framework does include a goal for individual indoor water use of 55 gallons per person per day beginning in 2022, this applies on an overall system-wide basis (and not an individual basis) and will not be enforced on an individual basis.

Ultimately, the standards for indoor water use, outdoor water use and water loss from leaks will be calculated and added together to create one overall target for each water provider area. Individual customers will not be required by the state to meet specific targets. Local water utilities will work to decide how to best meet the targets–through water-wise rebates, infrastructure improvements, outdoor watering guidelines and/or other efforts.

Learn more:

Fact sheet from the State Water Resources Control Board

Infographic from the California Water Efficiency Partnership