CA news anchors learn they could be fined $1,000 for using too much water

January 2, 2020 / 3.5K views

There's a new law signed into action in California that can result in people, found in violation, being fined up to $10,000 for taking too many showers or doing too much laundry in one day. Of course, one would have to take a really long shower, or like ten showers, to go over this limit set by Governor Jerry Brown who signed two bills targeting per-person water use.

Holmes Lybrand of the The Washington Examiner shared this fact checking info from back in 2018, which provided some details on two bills signed into action:

California has a water problem—one so severe that Gov. Jerry Brown thought it prudent to sign two bills, Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668, into law focused primarily on decreasing per-person water usage.

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One part of the legislation requires that “urban retail water suppliers” stick to set annual water budgets or potentially face a penalty of up to $1,000 per day (more if the overuse coincides with emergency droughts).

The goal, according to the text of SB-606, is to achieve “20-percent reduction from the baseline daily per capita water use by December 31, 2020.” To set the water budget standards, these urban retail water suppliers (i.e. a water supplier that services 3,000 people or 3,000 acre-feet annually) can adopt one of four methods to determine their water usage targets. AB-1668 sets the “standard for indoor residential water use” at 55 gallons a day per person, with the number decreasing to 50 gallons by 2030.

So clearly, if you read that California laws prohibit people from showering and doing laundry in the same day, then those websites have lied. 


I dug a bit further into this and found another article on KQED that suggests the new 55 gallon limit per person is more of a target limit, not an actual required limit.

Matt Weiser wrote:

In reality, it turns out, the 55-gallon limit is not a limit at all. It is merely an aspirational target meant to motivate customers to conserve.

“The statewide indoor water use standard is not enforceable on individual water users,” said Dave Bolland, director of state regulatory relations at the Association of California Water Agencies. “There is no provision [in the law] that requires individual households to meet a specific water use target.”

The pair of new laws that enacted the 55-gallon target, Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606, set it as a goal that water utilities must meet by averaging across all their customers. Water agencies must create a “water budget,” aggregated across their entire service area, that includes indoor water consumption, water applied for landscape irrigation, commercial and industrial use and water lost due to system leakage.

So some things we learned are:

  1. California has crazy laws.
  2. Websites have pushed somewhat false information about these laws, which was not needed because the laws were already crazy anyway.
  3. California news anchors are not happy about it and want to talk to Mr. Newsom! Good luck with that! I can see why so many people are moving out of the state.

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