The California Water Association (CWA), which represents 115 water utilities regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), issued the following statement regarding the CPUC’s resolution requiring regulated water utilities to notify customers about mandatory water restrictions and potential fines included in new emergency regulations issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board).

“The California Water Association (CWA) applauds the California Public Utilities Commission for clarifying the actions required of regulated water utilities under the State Water Resources Control Board’s emergency regulations.

“The emergency regulations, which took effect July 29, ban four wasteful practices including runoff from sprinklers, washing a car without a shot-off nozzle, hosing down driveways and sidewalks and using drinking water in ornamental fountains that don’t recirculate. They also require water providers make their outdoor watering restrictions mandatory rather than voluntary and offer water providers the option of fining violators up to $500.

“With the state experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades, California’s regulated water utilities fully support the Commission, as the governing agency for regulated water utilities, as well as the State Water Board and the Governor in their collective endeavor to increase water conservation by water providers and their customers.

“In fact, California’s largest regulated water utilities already have been complying with the Governor’s emergency drought proclamation and his call for a voluntary 20 percent water use reduction statewide since February, following the Commission’s direction.

“The four prohibitions are already included in the existing Water Conservation and Rationing Plans of the larger water utilities, which were activated by a Commission order in February 2014 and communicated to customers during March, April and May.

“We are pleased that customers already have responded to the call to conserve: Nearly all of the largest water utilities have reported decreases in water use from January to July this year compared to the same period in 2013. These reductions come on top of the substantial progress made toward meeting the state’s mandate to reduce urban water use by 20 percent by 2020. Many regulated water utilities were well on their way to meeting the state mandate before the drought.

“Regulated water utilities are committed to partnering with our customers conserve water, and many offer free programs and rebates to help residents reduce water use. For more information, as well as tips for conserving water at home or work, contact your local water utility.”

CWA is releasing a Frequently Asked Questions sheet about how the CPUC resolution and SWRCB emergency regulations affect regulated water utilities and their customers. It can be accessed here.

Photo credit: DWR/KELLY M. GROW

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