Long-Term Conservation Legislation

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Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life - SB 606 and AB 1668

To better prepare for unpredictable droughts and climate change, the State is working towards a shift to conservation as a way of life. In May 2018, two long-term water-use efficiency conservation bills (SB 606 and AB 1668) were signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The laws establish a more comprehensive framework for conservation and water use efficiency, including water use targets for water suppliers, like Ventura Water. The bills also include local drought planning and additional requirements for managing water for the future. There are no immediate impacts to Ventura Water customers and many details for implementing the new laws will be determined over the next several years

Once water use targets are set in 2022, Ventura Water will work to decide how to best meet the targets - through water-wise rebates, infrastructure improvements, outdoor watering guidelines and/or other efforts. In the meantime, Ventura Water will continue to offer rebates and services to help customers use water wisely, including incentives to remove your turf, free smart irrigation controllers and high efficiency sprinkler nozzles, free in-home water surveys, discounts on rain barrels, a recycled water mobile reuse program and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are urban water use targets?

Starting in 2023, Ventura Water will be required to submit a calculated urban water use target to the state. The urban water use target will be based on water use efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor water use, and system-wide water loss standards. Ventura Water will be required to meet its urban water use target by 2027.

 How will the new laws impact customers? 

There are no immediate impacts to customers. Over the next several years, water use targets will be set for Ventura Water’s overall service area (not on an individual basis) based upon the framework outlined in the laws. Once targets are established in 2022 and implementation begins in 2023, Ventura Water may work with individual households and businesses to increase water efficiency through rebates, services, programs, or other means.

Will individual residents and businesses be fined for not meeting water use targets?

No, individual water users will not be fined for not meeting the city-wide water use target. Ventura Water is responsible for meeting the target over its entire service area.

Will it be illegal to take a shower and wash clothes in the same day, as reported in the media? 

No. There is nothing in the laws that specifies when or how often a person may shower or do laundry. The new laws provide an overall framework for setting and meeting water use targets at the water provider level. 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.

How will local water agencies meet these new urban water use targets?

Each year, local water agencies like Ventura Water will be responsible for ensuring our aggregate water use meets our target. Ventura Water will continue to pursue infrastructure improvements that will reduce water loss and minimize system inefficiencies. Additionally, Ventura Water will continue to offer water wise rebates and incentives to achieve water use targets.

How will the state’s water efficiency standards be calculated?

Water efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor water use are being 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 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.

*The state set the provisional standards based on national research conducted by the Water Education Foundation. Prior to implementing the final standard, the state will be conducting a study to determine an appropriate California standard.

Is it easy to limit indoor water use to 55 gallons per person per day?

Based on industry estimates, many households already meet this standard. The Alliance for Water Efficiency has an online water calculator that will help customers estimate how much water is used in their household. Households with water-efficient appliances are likely using 55 gallons or less per person per day.

Remember, the state water efficiency standards will use this calculation to develop an aggregate goal for water agencies. For example, a local water agency with 1,000 connections 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, plus the outdoor and system water loss calculations that 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.

Sources: Association of California Water Agencies and California Water Efficiency Partnership. Last Updated: 3/28/2019

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