CA Executive Order B-37-16: Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life

B-37-16 “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life” is an executive order that builds on temporary statewide emergency water restrictions set forth by Governor Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board in 2015, to establish longer-term water conservation measures for California. In response to the extreme and persistent drought conditions along with warmer weather and reduced snowpack expected for the state, the 2016 executive order directs permanent changes to: use water more wisely, eliminate water waste, strengthen local drought resistance, and improve agricultural water use efficiency and drought planning.

The order requires permanent monthly water use reporting, and new permanent water use standards in California communities. To help eliminate water waste, the Water Board is to prohibit wasteful water practices such as hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes, or watering lawns in a manner that causes runoff.

In order to “Strengthen Local Drought Resilience” the Department of Water Resources is required to strengthen standards for local Water Shortage Contingency Plans, which are part of the Urban Water Management Plans that water districts must submit every five years. Under new strengthened standards, districts must plan for droughts lasting at least five years, as well as more frequent and severe periods of drought. These plans must be actionable, so that districts can turn to them to guide their drought response.

This Executive Order will help achieve a top priority in the Governor's Water Action Plan - to "Make Conservation a California Way of Life.” The California Water Action Plan – first released in January 2014 – is a 5-year sustainable water management plan for the state. 

On April 1, 2015 for the first time in State of California history, Governor Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across the state - to reduce water usage statewide by 25 percent.


Publication Date: May 9, 2016

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