Brown issues first ever mandatory water restrictions for California
California's record drought has pushed Gov. Jerry Brown to order the first mandatory water restrictions in state history.
Brown made the announcement following the latest snowpack readings from the Sierra Nevada, which showed the amount of water at its lowest level in recorded history.
"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow," Brown said. "This historic drought demands unprecedented action."
The governor then issued an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. These include directing the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. The order will also help local governments replace an estimated 50 million square feet of lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping.
A temporary, statewide consumer rebate program will be put into place to help residents replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models.
The new mandates will also prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
The Governor's order calls on local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing, according to an official statement.
California's enormous agriculture industry has been hit hard by the drought, and is also the single largest user of state water supplies. Under the new guidelines, ag water users will be required to report more water use information to state regulators, increasing the state's ability to enforce against illegal diversions and waste and unreasonable use of water.
Additionally, the Governor's office says the action strengthens standards for Agricultural Water Management Plans submitted by large agriculture water districts and requires small agriculture water districts to develop similar plans.