California has begun enacting tough new water-efficiency standards in an attempt to mitigate the 
perceived climate-change crisis.  The problem is, however, that these new policies are directly 
imposed upon California residents, and they are quite strict.  Yes, we should all watch how we’re 
using our resources, but California looks to be jumping to extreme measures at the cost of its 
already burdened residents.
In May, Governor Jerry Brown signed into existence two bills that are intended to restrict water 
usage for both indoor and outdoor consumption.  They ride on the coattails of his emergency order that was in reaction to California’s historic five-year drought, and will allow state regulators to fine jurisdictions that do not adhere to the bills’ goals.  Arguing that there are efficiency goals for energy and cars, Governor Brown sees his new bills as the next logical step.  Considering the average Californian used 90 gallons of indoor and outdoor water per day in 2017, making the jump to 55 gallons per day is a big step for most.  Additionally, the new legislation asserts that the allotment is going to decrease as time goes on, so 55 gallons is just the beginning.
Many people are arguing that California’s new bill rations water to such a degree that it makes it nearly impossible for a standard-sized family to maintain a healthy home environment.  Typically, a load of laundry uses anywhere from 15-30 gallons of water, and even more if someone is using an older machine.  A ten-minute shower will set you back 20 gallons, and don’t even consider letting your child take a bath, as a typical tub holds 80-100 gallons.
What do these new regulations mean for California?  Well, for a state that has been experiencing a steady exodus of residents over the past several years, this isn’t helping.  If you layer harsh water restrictions on top of existing issues, such as unattainable home prices, taxes, traffic, and homelessness, this doesn’t look like a step in the right direction for the Golden State.  Here in Reno, Nevada, 75% of people searching for a new home in our local market are from California.  What makes me nervous is whether or not other states are going to follow in California’s footsteps and place harsh restrictions on their residents’ water consumption, too.
This criticism is not to say that California should not be taking steps to find appropriate ways to handle their water consumption and drought prevention issues.  A recent burst pipe in downtown Los Angeles, California, resulted in 20 million gallons of water flooding the streets and the campus of UCLA.  San Jose, California, has an aging and broken underground pipe system that is in desperate need of rehabilitation.  Perhaps fixing the state’s infrastructure, particularly in population-heavy urban areas, would be a better use of regulatory control than siphoning much more miniscule amounts of water from households.
Yes, Governor Brown’s new bills are still considered general guidelines for now, but they have the possibility of becoming full-fledged impositions on Californians’ everyday lives in the coming years.  While cities and water districts are currently the ones bearing the brunt of the new regulations, it can very quickly and easily become a serious issue for California residents.  Energy efficiency and responsible consumption are not bad targets to strive for, but it’s a slippery slope when local water districts and state governments seek to regulate the everyman’s daily life.

Marcus Dodson
editor & publisher
Water Usage
New California Water Regulation Bills Hit Home