California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered state officials Wednesday to impose mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history as the state grapples with a serious drought. Brown has signed an executive order requiring the State Water Resources Control Board to implement measures in cities and towns to cut water usage by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels.
The move will affect residents, businesses, farmers and other users.
Brown’s order also will require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to significantly cut water use; direct local governments to replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought-tolerant landscaping; and create a temporary rebate program for consumers who replace old water-sucking appliances with more efficient ones. The order also calls on local water agencies to implement tiered water pricing that charges higher rates as more water is used and requires agricultural users to report more water use information to state regulators.
The order also prohibits new homes and developments from using drinkable water for irrigation if the structures lack water-efficient drip systems. In addition, the watering of decorative grasses on public street medians is banned.
Brown previously declared a drought emergency and stressed the need for sustained water conservation. But he has come under increasing pressure to be more aggressive as the state enters its fourth year of drought.
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