There’s been a lot of talk about how consumers will be affected by California’s two new long-term water-use efficiency conservation bills (SB 606 and AB 1668), which were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on May 31.
The two new laws call for the creation of indoor and outdoor water-use targets for water agencies such as Paradise Irrigation District.
While the details haven’t been fully worked out, be assured that PID is working closely with state officials to determine how the district—and its customers—can best comply with the new requirements.
Here are a few questions we’ve heard—and the answers as we understand them now. As always, if you have specific questions about your water use, call PID at 877-4971 and we’ll work hard to get you the answers.
What does PID need to do?
Starting in 2023, urban water suppliers (such as PID ) will be required to submit a calculated urban water-use objective to the state. Urban water suppliers will be required to meet their water use objective by 2027, or face the possibility of fines. The urban water use objective will be based on customer residential water use efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor water use, and system-wide water loss standards.
Will individual water users be fined for exceeding water-use objectives?
No. The bills establish possible fines, starting in 2024, on local water agencies that do not meet their water-use objectives. These fines would be levied on the agencies, not individuals.
Will the state require individuals to adhere to a specific water use standard?
No. The water-use objectives target PID and are based on our district’s system-wide, aggregate water use. There is no requirement in these bills that individual households must adhere to a specific water-use standard.
How will PID meet these new urban water use objectives?
Each year, PID will be responsible for making sure water use meets the objective and helping our customers use water more efficiently so PID can meet those objectives.
How will the state calculate water efficiency standards?
Standards will be calculated using water efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor water use that are developed through research and public input.
The indoor calculation will initially be based on a provisional standard of 55 gallons of water a day per person in each household.
The outdoor calculation is still being determined, but will account for local climate and the number of irrigable acres, including residential and commercial outdoor landscaping in the district’s service area. Variances for special circumstances will also be allowed.
In 2025, the indoor standard is provisionally scheduled to change to 52.5 gallons of water a day per person. In 2030, it is provisionally scheduled to change to 50 gallons of water a day per person.
State water efficiency standards will use this calculation to develop an aggregate goal for PID. For example, a water agency that estimates it’s serving a population of 2,500 people would have a water efficiency standard based on 2,500 X 55 gallons per day. Outdoor and system water loss calculations are still being determined.
Will commercial water users be required to use water more efficiently?
Yes. By 2022, the state will adopt water use efficiency performance measures for various commercial, industrial and institutional (schools, parks, etc.) water users.