Governor Jerry Brown is retiring but not before he passes a few draconian laws as parting gifts for California. Two bills were signed into law on Thursday of last week to “help California be better prepared for future droughts and the effects of climate change.”
The mandatory water conservation standards will be permanent, according to their wording, and not just for use in times of crisis. To make a long story short, now that these bills are law, it’s illegal to take a shower and do a load of laundry in the same day because you’ll exceed your “ration.”
Here’s the wording of the new laws.
Senate Bill 606 establishes a “governing body” to oversee all water suppliers, both private and public and will require extensive paperwork from those utility companies.
Assembly Bill 1668 is where it gets personal. This establishes limits on indoor water usage for every person in California and the amount allowed will decrease even further over the next 12 years.
The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.
If you’re wondering how the government would know how much water your family is using, the utility providers will be obligated to rat you out of face massive fines. And they’re encouraged to spy in all sorts of creative ways. They “shall use satellite imagery, site visits, or other best available technology to develop an accurate estimate of landscaped areas.”
Now, if you’re wondering where I get my assertion that you can’t shower and do laundry on the same day, here’s some math:
- An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water
- A load of laundry uses about 40 gallons of water
- A bathtub holds 80 to 100 gallons of water
- A dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water
There are also standards to be established for outdoor use such as landscaping, caring for livestock, and gardening, but those numbers don’t seem to be available at this time. Maybe Californians just get to wait in suspense to see if their chickens are allowed to have water on the same day as their vegetables. Back when I lived in California, we were only “allowed” to water our gardens two times per week, which, in that heat, as you can imagine, didn’t lead to very productive gardens.