Beginning with Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a State of Emergency
in January 2014, and escalating to declaring the first mandatory water reductions
in 2015, California saw a shift towards conserving water on a level not previously seen. The state saw success in reducing its overall water consumption by 25 percent from 2013 levels. With this groundswell of conservation momentum, the Governor released his plan, Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life
. This plan, along with a number of water conservation bills, will shape the future of California’s water conservation and use landscape.
Both the Senate and Assembly are engaged in discussions about the future of water conservation, efficiency, and target setting. The Assembly created a water-working group earlier this year that has been working with stakeholders on addressing issues around water conservation and efficiency.
Sens. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Assembly Member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) are currently drafting a package of water use efficiency bills that they hope to pass by the end of this year’s legislative session. Their plan will focus on creating urban water standards, water use targets, and drought contingency plans. This plan is aimed at eliminating unnecessary uses of water, prepare and plan for extended periods of drought, and to clarify the roles and responsibilities of state and local water agencies among many other objectives.
Negotiations between the Senate, the Assembly, the Administration, and other water stakeholders continue through the last weeks of the legislative session.
Below are identical bills that the Senate and Assembly are considering as possible vehicles for addressing water conservation: