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Although he declared an end to California’s historic five-year drought last year, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed two new laws that will require cities and water districts across the state to set permanent water conservation rules, even in non-drought years.

“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.”

Brown signed two bills, SB 606 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and AB 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), that require cities, water districts and large agricultural water districts to set strict annual water budgets, potentially facing fines of $1,000 per day if they don’t meet them, and $10,000 a day during drought emergencies.

The article goes on to state the following:

The targets must be approved by the State Water Resources Control Board between now and then, and will vary by city and county.

Standards will be based on a formula that is made up of three main factors: an allowance of 55 gallons per person per day for indoor water use — dropping to 50 gallons by 2030; a yet-to-be determined amount for residential outdoor use that will vary depending on regional climates; and a standard for water loss due to leak rates in water system pipes.

The new laws make it likely that water agencies will need to offer more rebates for home owners and business owners who replace lawns with drought-tolerant plants and who purchase water efficient appliances. The agencies could also limit the hours and days of lawn watering, even when droughts are not occurring.

A report published by KUSI.COM claimed that the new California law will technically make it illegal for Californians to shower and do a load of laundry on the same day for for some households:

  • An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water
  • A load of laundry uses about 40 gallons of water
  • A bathtub holds 80 to 100 gallons of water
  • A dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water

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