California AB 1668 - Water Management Planning

California Assembly Bill 1668 was enacted with contingency on the passage of SB 606 - both addressing water conservation and drought resilience across the state. Both were adopted in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-37-16 - “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life” which directs permanent changes to use water more wisely, eliminate water waste, strengthen local drought resistance, and improve agricultural water use efficiency and drought planning.

AB 1668 requires the State Water Resources Control Board (Board), in coordination with the Department of Water Resources (DWR), to adopt water efficiency standards and regulations; drought and water shortage contingency plan guidance; specified standards for per capita daily indoor residential water use; and performance measures for commercial, industrial, and institutional water use.

The legislation also specifies penalties on local water suppliers for violations to these standards. Starting in 2027, local water suppliers’ failure to comply with the Board’s adopted long-term standards could result in fines of $1,000 per day during non-drought years, and $10,000 per day during declared drought emergencies and certain dry years.

AB 1668 requires the Board and DWR to:

Propose drought guidance for small suppliers and rural communities

By January 1, 2020, the agencies will produce recommendations and guidance relating to the development and implementation of countywide drought and water shortage contingency plans to address the planning needs of small water suppliers and rural communities.

The Board, DWR and other relevant state and local agencies and stakeholders are also required to identify small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at risk of drought and water shortage vulnerability by January 1, 2020 (and to notify counties and groundwater sustainability agencies of those suppliers or communities).

Develop indoor residential water use standards

The law requires the Board and DWR to conduct investigations and jointly recommend to the Legislature a standard for indoor residential water use.

Until January 1, 2025, 55 gallons per capita daily is the standard for indoor residential water use. After this, the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by DWR and the Board will be the standard. Beginning January 1, 2030, the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by DWR and the Board is established as the standard for indoor residential water use.

AB 1668 also initiates requirements on agricultural water suppliers. These suppliers are required to update their agricultural water management plans on or before April 1, 2021, and thereafter every five years. The agricultural plan must include an annual water budget based on the quantification of all inflow and outflow components for the service area.

Agricultural water suppliers must also create a drought plan describing the actions of the supplier for drought preparedness and management of water supplies and allocations during drought conditions.

 

Publication Date: May 31, 2018

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