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Executive Order Aims to Make Water Conservation a Way of Life in California

 
SACRAMENTO – Moving to bolster California’s climate and drought resilience, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order that builds on temporary statewide emergency water restrictions to establish longer-term water conservation measures, including permanent monthly water use reporting, new permanent water use standards in California communities and bans on clearly wasteful practices such as hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes.
 
“Californians stepped up during this drought and saved more water than ever before,” said Governor Brown. “But now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence and water conservation must be a part of our everyday life.”
 
Californians have responded to the call to conserve water during the drought by dialing back sprinklers, replacing lawns, fixing leaky faucets and installing more efficient toilets and washing machines. Between June 2015 and March 2016, Californians reduced water use by 23.9 percent compared with the same months in 2013 – saving enough water to provide 6.5 million Californians with water for one year.
 
While the severity of the drought has lessened in some parts of California after winter rains and snow, the current drought is not over. For the fifth consecutive year, dry conditions persist in many areas of the state, with limited drinking water supplies in some communities, diminished water for agricultural production and environmental habitat, and severely depleted groundwater basins. The executive order calls for long-term improvements to local drought preparation across the state, and directs the State Water Resources Control Board to develop proposed emergency water restrictions for 2017 if the drought persists.
 
California droughts are expected to be more frequent and persistent, as warmer winter temperatures driven by climate change reduce water held in the Sierra Nevada snowpack and result in drier soil conditions. Recognizing these new conditions, the executive order directs permanent changes to use water more wisely and efficiently, and prepare for more frequent, persistent periods of limited supply.
 
These new actions will help achieve a top priority in the Governor’s Water Action Plan – to “Make Conservation a California Way of Life.” The administration will seek public input in the coming months on new water conservation and efficiency standards called for in this executive order.

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