Gov. Gavin Newsom renewed his calls for strict water conservation measures across California in a meeting Monday with the state’s largest urban water suppliers — warning that if local efforts don’t save enough water, the state will have to enact mandatory restrictions.
“Every water agency across the state needs to take more aggressive actions to communicate about the drought emergency and implement conservation measures,” Newsom said. “Californians made significant changes since the last drought but we have seen an uptick in water use, especially as we enter the summer months. We all have to be more thoughtful about how to make every drop count.”
Newsom will meet with the agencies again in two months to get an update on conservation efforts. He also asked them to submit water use data more frequently and increase transparency so the state can more accurately measure whether it is meeting its conservation goals.
The State Water Resources Control Board is scheduled to vote Tuesday, May 24, on a statewide ban on watering non-functional turf at commercial, industrial and institutional locations. The board will also consider requiring local agencies to implement water use restrictions. Local water agency restrictions currently only cover about half of California’s population.
According to Newsom’s office, banning watering of decorative lawns would save between 156,000 acre-feet and 260,000 acre-feet per year, the equivalent of water used by 780,000 households in a year.
The governor’s office also urged people to shower for only five minutes or less, stop taking baths, only wash full loads of clothes and use a broom instead of a hose to clean outdoor areas.