California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law Thursday aimed at reducing water consumption in the state, even in non-drought conditions.
"In preparation for the next drought and our changing environment, we must use our precious resources wisely," Brown said in a statement. "We have efficiency goals for energy and cars—and now we have them for water."
The bills—SB 606 from Senator Robert Hertzberg (D), and AB 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D)—require water districts to set targets for water use by 2022. The targets will include a daily allowance of 55 gallons per person for indoor water use, and calculate outdoor water allowances based on regional differences in climate and leak rates for pipes. Beginning in 2027, districts that exceed their annual budgets will face fines of $10,000 per day during drought emergencies. The indoor allowance is set to drop to 50 gallons per day by 2030.
Californians have already significantly reduced their water consumption since Brown declared a state of emergency in 2014 and imposed mandatory water restrictions. In 2013, residents used nearly 20 gallons more per day than in 2017, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. Which is good news, considering droughts in the state are expected to become more frequent and severe.