Governor orders mandatory reduction in water-use

California's snowpack at a record low; Gov. Jerry Brown issues executive order for 25 percent cut in water use

Gov. Jerry Brown today issued an executive order for statewide mandatory water use reductions, the first-ever order in California's history, according to the governor's office.

With a record-low snowpack amid the state's drought, Brown today directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory 25 percent reductions in water usage by California cities and towns through February 2016.

The executive order also calls on the water board to direct local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing.

The order requires school campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use, and will create a statewide initiative partnering with local agencies to replace lawns with drought-tolerant landscapes, according to the governor's office.

A rebate program will also be set up to provide incentives for the replacement of inefficient household devices.

The governor announced the executive order this morning at a manual snowpack survey conducted 90 miles east of Sacramento.

Electronic readings have shown the Sierra Nevada's snowpack's water content is lower than any year on record, just 8 percent of the historical average as of late March, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action," Brown said in a statement.

"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," the governor said.

Click here to download the full text of the executive order (PDF - may take a minute or more to download).

— Bay City News Service

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3 people like this
Posted by lessons learned
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

lessons learned is a registered user.

Here's the problem: if history repeats itself, we'll all be hit with 25% across-the-board cuts. So those of us who have eliminated our grass yards, who have already installed low-flo dishwashers/washing machines/toilets/faucets/showers, who are careful not to waste water will end up with much lower allocations than the people who have been using water as if there were an unlimited supply.

P.S. It's supposed to rain this weekend

2 people like this
Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 1, 2015 at 12:48 pm

pogo is a registered user.

lessons learned -

Excellent point. And the other lesson we have learned is that the water utility will now have less revenue so they will raise rates. Less production for them; higher rates and even more revenues.

Let the lesson begin.

1 person likes this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 1, 2015 at 12:48 pm

really? is a registered user.

If you are still watering a lawn- we know where you live!

Expect a knock in your door soon.

2 people like this
Posted by Annabelle
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 1, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Too bad the city of Menlo Park does not limit the watering on the island divider on Sand Hill Road just east of Junipero Serra. The water runs down street. Also the business just west of CVS on Sharon Park Drive - again the water just runs down the street.

1 person likes this
Posted by water wasters
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Those peeps that have been watering their lawn the last 6 months -- what planet have they been living on?

What a waste of 6 mos. of water. Everyone with a brain saw it coming, so they wasted 6 months of water on a lawn that is going to die anyway.

Thanks a pantload. Way to support the community.

1 person likes this
Posted by really?
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 1, 2015 at 2:05 pm

really? is a registered user.

It doesn't take much to stick a note in people's mailbox to tell them we're not impressed by a green lawn. Please do this to your neighbors and help them help our community.

Like this comment
Posted by water wasters
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 1, 2015 at 2:07 pm

a little bleach to show them how it will look brown?

jk, jk...

4 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 1, 2015 at 2:31 pm

We have cut back as much as possible over the past years and now we are expected to cut back even more. Why are they approving all the condominiums, hotels and office buildings which will add enormous new consumption - how about a moratorium on their usage!

3 people like this
Posted by Angry in Atherton
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Whoever posted the comment about "water abusers" being rewarded is so true. Those of us who have been conserving water all year will now have our water use reduced even further, while the "abusers" will be reduced to a normal level. Another point to think about- those of us who have lived through previous drought years, watched the water company raise rates significantly but when water and snow pack again becomes plentiful, the rates never go down. Interesting.....

2 people like this
Posted by retired teacher
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 1, 2015 at 4:21 pm

There are apparently four or five different water districts that serve Menlo Park. With new development projects primarily in two districts, Menlo Park City Water District and California Water concern is how will the mandatory 25% cut back for each district be applied to new customers. Will current customers have to cut back more than 25% to share the reduced amount of water the district receives with thousands of new customers? Facebook, Gateway, St Anton, and Sobrato Commonwealth Corporate Center are all in the City District. Projects on El Camino and Glenwood are in the Calif. Water District. Atherton is also, I believe, a Cal Water customer. Will there be some type of provision going forward for new development/customers within each district?

Yes, I know agriculture is the big water user but there is nothing that can be done overnight or easily to change that situation. Perhaps some kind of building moratorium is indicated until more long term fixes can hopefully be applied. I know using the "M" word will cause many heads on this forum to explode and perhaps it is a bit extreme...but come on things are IMHO unprecedented.

2 people like this
Posted by acomfort
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 1, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Some thoughts.
Asking people to cut back 25% will mostly affect the water use that others can see.
It will do little for long showers, frequent baths, running water in the sink unnecessarily, backyard watering or flushing more than necessary and who decides what is necessary?

The problem I am describing is best understood by reading about "The Tragedy of the Commons." Web Link
OR Web Link

We need a system that makes each person benefit by how much water they save.

One example: For residential use, raise the water rates to double what they are now and rebate the surplus funds equally to each residence. Those that use less water come out ahead at the expense of those who use lots of water per residence.
I think this concept is valid but the details need lots of work.
Maybe the rebates should be per person instead of per residence.

People in apartment houses should come out good and maybe they should.

Could the same system be used for businesses? I think so, but the water use requirements are very different for each type of business and some allowance would have to be made, maybe using their historical water use or comparing to other similar businesses.

I would like to see a rationing system where we don't need to care about our neighbors water use and with the right incentives and/or disincentives it can be done. I hope!

I think we need something besides a voluntary system and hopefully someone will think of a fair system that can be implemented soon.

I would like to see more ideas about other systems to get the area to save water.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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