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No April Fools - CA State Mandated Water Restrictions

"Wasserhahn" by Matthew Bowden - Licensed under Attribution via Wikimedia Commons -

Governor Brown Directs First Ever Statewide Mandatory Water Reductions with Executive Order B-29-15

Today the first ever madated water reductions in California were issued via  Governor Brown's Executive Order B-29-15.

According to the press release issued on the Governor's website, "Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced actions that will save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state's drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient."

"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action," said Governor Brown. "Therefore, I'm issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible."

Map of Current Drought Conditions in California; data released March 24, 2015.

A few key highlights from the 31 directives in the Executive Order:

  • CA Water Board will impose restrictions on water use to achieve a 25% reduction in potable urban water usage
  • Department of Water Resources will lead a statewide initiative to collectively replace 50 million square feet of lawns and ornamental turf.
  • New homes and developments  will be prohibited from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used.
  • CA Water Board will direct water supplies to create new rate structures and other pricing mechanisms (surcharges, fees, penalties, etc.) in order to conserve water and meet statewide water restrictions.
  • Urban water suppliers will be required to provide monthly usage, conservation and enforcement data to the Water Board.
  • Agricultural water suppliers will be required to include drought management plans as part of their 2015 Agricultural Water Management Plans.
  • Water rights holders will be required to provide frequent reporting of water diversion and use; with the Water Board conducting inspections to determine if illegal diversions, wasteful or unreasonable use is taking place and taking enforcement actions when necessary.
  • California Energy Commission will adopt emergency rules to establish standards for water efficient appliances (toilets, faucets) for new and existing buildings.
  • A new Water Energy Technology (WET) program will be implemented by California Energy Commission, Department of Water Resources and Water Board. The program will focus on deploying water management technologies to businesses, residents, industry, and agriculture like renewable energy powered desalination, integrated on-site reuse systems, water-use monitoring systems, etc.
  • Emergency Drought Salinity Barriers will be planned and implemented as necessary in Sacramento-San Joaquin delta estuary.

These key websites will help you monitor conditions and find out how your local area is handling water reduction and other water conservation efforts:

Finally, the Stanford Libraries have many resouces for conducting research on water, hydrology, and conservation. As a California Depository Library, we have collections from the key state agencies (Water Resources Control Board, Department of Water Resources, California Energy Commission).  Please get in touch with me,, for research assistance!