ACWA: Action Needed on Mandatory Water Restrictions

  • by BPC Staff
  • on July 24, 2014
Regulatory Outreach Alert
July 24, 2014
Action Needed on Mandatory Water Restrictions
Member Agencies Urged to Activate Local Drought Contingency Plans
The State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency regulations July 15 that require local water agencies to implement mandatory water restrictions and report monthly water production data.
ACWA is urging its urban member agencies to move swiftly to activate mandatory provisions of their water shortage contingency plans if they have not already done so. Agencies that do not have water shortage contingency plans are required to either limit outdoor irrigation to twice a week or implement other mandatory conservation measures that achieve comparable conservation.
The regulations, which take effect on or about Aug. 1, prohibit Californians from using potable water to do any of the following:
  • Wash down sidewalks and driveways
  • Water outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excess runoff
  • Wash a motor vehicle with a hose that does not have a shut-off nozzle
  • Operate a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system
The regulations make an exception for circumstances where the action is necessary to address an immediate health and safety need or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a state or federal agency.
The State Board’s regulations and required outdoor water use restrictions are available here.
The State Board intends to provide more specific guidance soon to local agencies on enforcing and implementing mandatory restrictions. In the meantime, ACWA is calling on its member agencies to take a number of actions to move swiftly to implement mandatory restrictions.  Here’s what you can do:
Action Requested from ACWA Members:
  • If your agency hasn’t yet done so, have your board take action to activate the mandatory provisions of your water shortage contingency plan. Agencies that do not have water shortage contingency plans should at a minimum adopt mandatory outdoor water use restrictions that limit outdoor irrigation to twice a week or implement other conservation measures that align with the State Board’s direction. (A toolkit with sample ordinances is here.)
  • Please notify ACWA when your board has taken action so we may reflect these changes on our interactive drought response map, which shows where mandatory and voluntary conservation measures are in place around the state. It is updated constantly and is being used by the Brown Administration, the media, state agencies and others to track what is happening at the local level in response to drought. Please email a description of your agency’s action to ACWA interim Communications and Outreach Specialist Marie Meade at NO LATER THAN AUG. 29.*** It is especially important to let us know when your agency moves from voluntary (designated by a yellow dot on the map) to mandatory restrictions (designated by a red dot) so we can show compliance with the State Board’s direction.
  • Be sure to post your agency’s water use restrictions prominently on your website so customers and others can readily find it. It is advisable to include an email or phone number members of the public may call to report water waste or receive more information.
  • If your agency is carrying out a public education / outreach program on water conservation, please take a moment to share it with ACWA so we can reflect it in our statewide information on drought response and showcase your agency’s actions. Information on public education / outreach programs can be emailed to
Drought Resources Available
Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has developed a local government toolkit with information and resources for local governments, including sample conservation ordinances. It is at
ACWA and the Save Our Water statewide public education program also have developed a number of tools and information sources that are useful for drought messaging. Save Our Water – a partnership between ACWA and the California Department of Water Resources – has a wealth of information on ways to reduce household water use, both indoors and outdoors. See more on the full website,, and the new program’s new microsite, The program has launched a new “Don’t Waste Summer” campaign that features easy ways residents can save water every day.
Earlier this year the Governor also launched a new drought web portal. The page is being regularly updated with the latest actions the Brown Administration and state agencies are taking to respond to the drought.
ACWA’s 2014 Drought Watch Portal features detailed information on how local water agencies across California are taking action in the face of dry conditions in early 2014. The page includes ACWA’s interactive Drought Response Map listing the local water agencies that have enacted voluntary conservation, mandatory conservation and other drought-related actions due to the dry conditions.
A widget is available to embed the map on your agency’s website. Go to  to obtain the embed code.
Here are some other web resources worth a look:
If you have any questions about the State Board’s emergency regulations, please contact ACWA Senior Regulatory Advocate Dave Bolland at or 916-441-4545.

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