Gov. Newsom threatens to impose mandatory water restrictions on California residents as drought conditions continue in 2022

SACRAMEDO, California – California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday threatened to impose mandatory water restrictions if residents do not use less on their own as droughts continue and warmer summer months approach.

Newsom raised the issue in a meeting with representatives of major water companies, including those supplying Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, his office said in a press release.

The Democratic governor avoided issuing sweeping, mandatory water use cuts and instead favored an approach that gives local water services the power to set rules for water use in the cities and towns they provide.

January through March is usually when most of the annual rain and snow falls in California, but this year the months were the driest in at least a century.

Despite calls for conservation, the state’s water use increased dramatically in March – 19% compared to the same month in 2020 – and now Newsom is considering changing its approach.

“Every water utility across the state needs to take more aggressive action to communicate the drought emergency and implement conservation measures,” Newsom said in a statement.

California is in its third year of drought and almost all areas of the state are classified as either severe or extreme drought.

Newsom last summer called on Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15% by doing things like five-minute showers and avoiding baths, setting up only the full-time washing machine and dishwasher, and limiting the use of water for outdoor cleaning. But the residents have fallen far short of the target.

It was not clear how soon Newsom could impose mandatory restrictions if maintenance was not improved. He plans to meet with water services again in two months, his office said. Spokeswoman Erin Mellon said management would reassess retention progress in “just a few weeks.” It did not provide a measurement that management would use to measure.

Newsom has already moved to impose more protection on local water areas. He instructed the State Water Resources Control Council to consider banning irrigation of ornamental lawns, such as lawn in office parks, and to force local agencies to step up conservation efforts.

Following the recent drought, the state began requiring cities and other water areas to submit drought response plans outlining six levels of conservation based on how much water is available. Newsom asked the board to require these areas to move to “Level 2” of their plans, which requires a 20% water shortage.

Each area can set its own “Level 2” rules and often include things like further restricting the use of water for outdoor purposes and paying people to install more efficient appliances or landscaping that requires less water. They should include a communication plan to encourage locals to use less water.

The council will vote on the measures on Tuesday and take effect on June 10.

Last week, while touring a water recycling plant in Los Angeles County, Newsom spoke of the need to better communicate the need to save water to the state’s 39 million people. He has included $ 100 million in his budget for drought messages.

During the last drought, from 2012 to 2016, former Governor Jerry Brown issued a mandatory 25% reduction in total water use in the state and the state water council set requirements for how much each water area had to be cut based on existing water use. ; It was requested from the areas where people used more water to cut more. Water utilities could be fined up to $ 10,000 a day if they do not comply.

Newsom’s current approach gives local water areas more flexibility, and he said it is important to recognize that different parts of the state have their own water needs.

The state water council has imposed some restrictions across the state, such as banning people from watering their lawn for 48 hours after rain and sprinklers running on sidewalks. People can be fined $ 500 a day for violations.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Electricity, East Bay Township, Southern California Metropolitan Area, Alameda County Water District, San Francisco, Utah Public Utilities, San Diego Authority, the California Association of Water Agencies, the California Urban Water Agencies, and the California Municipal Utilities Association. The meeting was not open to the press or the public.

The video on the media player is from a previous story

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Gov. Newsom threatens to impose mandatory water restrictions on California residents as drought conditions continue in 2022 Source link Gov. Newsom threatens to impose mandatory water restrictions on California residents as drought conditions continue in 2022

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