The State Water Resources Control Board held a rulemaking workshop on the development of the Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life regulation on October 4.
The board is considering regulatory concepts to lessen the need for the emergency water use reduction targets to help mitigate water consumption during recent droughts.
Ag Council staff member Jacob DeFant spoke during the workshop to express concern about the technical feasibility of the proposed outdoor water regulation.
While there is anecdotal evidence suggesting the proposed conservation targets may be achievable in certain areas of the state, it’s important to acknowledge the significant financial burden the regulation would impose on average ratepayers.
The implementation and maintenance of alternative landscapes can be prohibitively expensive for many. Moreover, there is complexity in adopting a uniform standard statewide given the diversity in California’s environment, climate, soil types, and household incomes.
To support the transition toward water-efficient outdoor landscapes, Ag Council is recommending funding for dedicated programs and urging the board to explore General Fund dollars for such initiatives. Ag Council also supports existing state efforts targeting a long-term approach, such as the Urban Greening Program.
Ag Council will follow up with board members and submit a detailed public comment letter to reinforce the verbal comments.