The new water use efficiency laws, AB 1668 and SB 606, provide an interrelated framework intended to strengthen the state’s water resiliency in the face of future droughts by establishing standards and guidelines for efficient water use. One of the biggest components of the bills is the creation of water-use objectives for water agencies (not individual households or businesses). Local water agencies will be responsible for calculating their water-use objective and determining whether their systemwide, aggregate water use meets that objective.
With the new law, the indoor water use standard is 55 GPCD by 2025 then reduced to 50 GPCD by 2030. These limits are placed on indoor water use only.
AB 1668 requires the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to adopt water efficiency regulations, outlines reporting requirements for water suppliers, and specifies penalties for violations.
The final version of AB 1668 includes the following key provisions:
- Establishes water use objectives, standards and reporting requirements for indoor and outdoor residential water use, commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) landscape areas, water losses, and other unique local uses.
- Revises the Agricultural Water Management Planning Act to increase the efficiency of agricultural water use.
- Requires DWR, the State Water Board, and other relevant stakeholders to identify small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at risk of drought and water shortage vulnerability and provide recommendations for drought planning.
SB 606 requires the State Water Board and DWR to adopt water efficiency regulations, outlines requirements for urban water suppliers, and specifies penalties for violations. The bill contains distinct provisions on water shortage planning and water loss reporting for urban wholesale water suppliers, and establishes a bonus incentive for potable reuse water.
The final version of SB 606 includes the following key provisions:
- Establishes urban water use objectives and reporting requirements for urban water suppliers by requiring an urban water supplier to calculate an aggregate urban water use objective.
- Substantially revises the requirements under the Urban Water Management Planning Act. Specifically, requires urban water suppliers to conduct annual drought risk assessments and to submit an annual report to DWR.
- Requires the adoption of a water shortage contingency plan, which must include certain elements, annual drought risk assessment procedures, and standard water shortage levels.