By Jennifer McGraw

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – There will soon be more focus on flushes and scrutiny over showers with a new law signed in by the governor.

California is now the first state in the nation to enact tough new water-efficiency standards. The controversial rules are targeted at water districts to cut per capita water usage, but in order to meet the goals, those cuts will trickle down to the customers they serve.

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“So that everyone in California is at least integrating efficiency into our preparations for climate change,” said Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

So, what are the new rules?

In 2022, the new indoor water standard will be 55 gallons per person, per day. by 2030, it will fall to 50 gallons.

“With a child and every day having to wash clothes, that’s, just my opinion, not feasible. But I get it and I understand that we’re trying to preserve…but 55 gallons a day?” said Tanya Allen, who has a 4-year-old daughter.

Just how many gallons do household chores take?

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An 8-minute shower uses about 17 gallons of water, a load of laundry up to 40, and a bathtub can hold 80 to 100 gallons of water.

“She likes to bathe three times a day and she does laundry all day,” said Rocka Mitchell from Texas.

He and his wife Ginger are living in Sacramento for work and say it would be hard to conserve.

“I couldn’t do it. My family is way too large,” she said.

Retrofitting homes with water-efficient fixtures could help cut back.

“I think the average new home is 35 gallons per person per day, so we are not talking emergency conservation here,” Marcus said.

Greg Bundesen with the Sacramento Suburban Water District says they already assist customers.

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“We offer toilet rebates, we offer complementary showerheads, we offer complementary faucets,” he said.

The new laws also require water districts to perform stress tests of their water supply and curb loss due to leaks.

“Right now we lose up to 30 percent of urban water just to leaks in the system,” Marcus said.

Agencies believe fixing those leaks and educating residents is the key.

“Some people may not be aware that you’re going to use a lot more water in a bath and you wouldn’t shower and it’s our job to make sure they’re informed,” Bundesen said.

Water districts who don’t comply face fines up to $10,000 a day.

The ultimate goal is to make conservation a way of life in California. Outdoor water use is also covered by the new laws.

Standards will be based on a region’s climate and other factors instead of just one standard for the whole state.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited to clarify the target of the water rules is water agencies, but that cutting usage will require cutbacks from downstream users.

Comments (6)
  1. Jill Pruett says:

    I live in Cheyenne, WY. Right now, two people under the Cal 2022 limitations would be 3,000 gallons. Normally my water bill runs from 2-3000 gallons now.
    We don’t really do a lot of out door watering, we have 2 Caroma® low flow toilets (3L/6L and 3L/4.5L) I generally only run the portable dishwasher twice a week and do 2-3 loads of clothes a week – with an older wash machine. This is for 2 people. And we don’t let ourselves stink.

    I don’t like the idea of water districts micromanaging people, but you could be in the situation like Cape Town SA where the system was all but collapsing, and people were bathing in buckets 9 i don’t have a problem with pan baths-have done this camping for years).

  2. I think Moonbeam wants California to elect a Republican governor with these outlandish laws coming through

  3. Here government Brown is telling us how to live how to how shower how to bathe and what how is he living in a mansion I bet you he is not worried about conservation or doing it himself. People of California can live on rules or regulations , what does he expect people to go to work smelly and stinky cause they cant take a full shower or bath, Im sorry but his laws and regulations are wrong and people of California cannot be living by these standards I moved back over here and that was the biggest mistake ever , Law for this rules for that and stupid CRV , need to be removed from the state of California i pay more now here and double for everything this is ridiculous but Brown I bet you doesn’t have to worry about his water for his showers or when he takes a bath or waters his lawn. or anything he does !!

  4. If it isn’t __________ Control (fill in the blank) it isn’t California. Grocery bags, pet buying, food offerings e.g. foie gras, sporting goods, income, landscaping … if it hasn’t been controlled yet, it will be.

  5. Owen Howlett says:

    Apparently you edited this article, but it’s still highly misleading. People will not be required to limit their water use–the law is aimed at making water utilities more efficient. The article deliberately omits this, to sound more scary. Very poor journalism.

  6. Usual nutjob rantings I see. Our pioneer forebearers used maybe 5 gallons a day, if that. Now it is a disaster if we are limited to 50?

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