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Water Conservation Portal - FAQ
Revisions to the Emergency Regulation/Self-Certification /Stress Test (May 2016)
Emergency Regulation and Definitions
No. Water agencies that do not self-certify shall continue with their specific conservation standard that went into effect on March 1, 2016.
The definition of water year in the regulation must be used in the self-certification calculations. The emergency regulation defines the water year as the period from October 1 through the following September 30 and the water year is designated by the year in which it ends. This means that water year 2017 starts October 1, 2016 and ends September 30, 2017. See also Section 865(a)(6) in the regulation.
Yes, this refers to calendar years.
The retail supplier will have to do the best they can and reach out to any other retail customers of the wholesaler as well as attempt to get a response from the wholesaler. The due date for a retail water supplier's self-certification submittal is on or before June 22.
Yes, those dates are correct. The supply availability covers the water years 2017, 2018, and 2019 using the assumption that the next three years' precipitation mirrors that of water years 2013, 2014, and 2015. Note that the starting conditions are the 2016 water year conditions and that it is likely different from the beginning of the 2013 water year.
You don't need to allocate specific amounts from each source (e.g. sea water desalination or recycled water) to each retailer. However, you must provide total volume of water expected to be delivered to each retailer in each of the next three water years. The sum total of estimates for each year cannot exceed the total supply that the wholesaler determines would be available in that year.
For the purpose of the stress test calculations, submit accurate data and analysis using available information. If there is a need to make assumptions to maintain other beneficial uses or to conform to other requirements, e.g., that a water table does not go below a certain level, those need to be explicitly stated on the online form. Also, retail water suppliers can have their own voluntary target, separate from the calculated standard.
Use the quantity of groundwater that is accessible, without addition of new wells or completion of treatment projects that would fall outside the three-year projection period (2016-17 through 2018-19). You should also take into account likely drawdowns during the three-year projection period, corresponding changes in groundwater elevation, and any potential effects that a decrease in groundwater elevation will have on the ability of a supplier to pump groundwater. Information about assumptions being used in your calculations must be included in the online form (including attachments to the form).
Use available information and when information is not available, describe the assumptions used to calculate the value reported. Keep your analysis within the three-year timeframe as indicated in the emergency regulation. Consider factors such as well depth, water table levels, expected impacts of water supply reliability with three additional years of drought, and any other significant factors that are included in your analysis.
Yes. The online form will have a specific place for listing each type of supply that the supplier intends to use for each of the next three years. Suppliers will also be asked to provide an itemized list of these sources of supply, by type. For example, the form will have a place to record aggregate local surface water. This information must be itemized and show each individual local surface water source. This information can be provided in a separate document, if they do not fit on the online form. Supporting documents that explain data and calculations, including assumptions, must be uploaded to the online form and should not exceed 10 pages.
Your wholesaler will provide information on what it will supply to each of its retail water customers using the assumption that precipitation that occurred over the water years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 is exactly the same for upcoming water years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, while considering that starting conditions are likely different in 2016 than they were in 2013.
Agreements may exist between the wholesaler and retailer, and/or common carryover allocation practices may change under the circumstances experienced during multiple dry years. If a wholesaler stores and delivers carryover water in subsequent years, the retailer can factor the carryover amount in the subsequent year's supply. However if carryover facilities are limited and there is no delivery of carryover water from one year to the next, the carryover water cannot be factored into the retailer's subsequent year's supply.
If that untreated water could be treated and used for potable drinking water purposes, then that water would count as a source of potential supply.
Recycled water for purple pipe systems is not a potable supply and is not included in the baseline. Advanced-treated recycled water for indirect potable reuse (e.g., groundwater augmentation or surface water augmentation) is included as a source of supply.
If it is recharging a supply that realistically can be used for potable water with treatment, then it should be included.
Each individual urban water supplier will need to self-certify. The self-certification must be supported with information showing how you calculated your total water supply, which would include information on the individual supplies that are then summed to generate a forecast of total potable water supply.
Self-Certification Form and Calculations
The drought emergency regulation pertains to urban potable water. "Purple pipe" water is not potable so it doesn't count as a supply of potable water. However, in your supporting document or in Step 2 of the online form, you can describe efforts to advance the use of recycled water in "Notes and Comments".
Provide both the 2013 and 2016 well data for the well that provided the highest percentage of your water supply in 2016, since the starting point for projecting out three additional years is October 1, 2016.
Summarize what you expect would occur in the groundwater basins over the three assumed dry years in your supplemental document (10 pages or less). You can only make reference to the engineering reports if your reference is a direct link to a page where a reader could immediate see where a number or calculation is coming from. Do not include links to entire reports.
The State Water Board's data system will send a confirmation email when it receives the online self-certification submittal. Each urban retailer water supplier has to post its conservation standard and supporting data and analysis within two weeks of submitting the online form to the State Water Board. In July, the State Water Board will also post the new conservation standards.
The new self-certified conservation standard will become effective June 1. (Note that June reports are due July 15 so the effective date is after the online form is due).
The analysis starts with current conditions in 2016 and projecting supply and demand to the end of the current water year. Then retail and wholesale water suppliers must assume that the hydrology in water year 2017 will be identical to 2013, the water year 2018 will be identical to 2014, and the water year 2019 will be identical to 2015.
"Mirroring" means the same precipitation, same amounts in the same locations. It does not refer to yearly averages over large regions.
Include the raw water if it could be used as a source of potable water and impacts water reliability. That is, only include raw water that could be used for potable drinking water purposes with available treatment.
"Capable" means that equipment is in place and functional so it can treat water to drinking quality. If there is a new treatment capacity coming on-line, there needs to be sufficient proof that it truly can be functioning within the specified timeframe (e.g., contracts are in place and funds are allocated to ensure the project will be completed).
The form has a place for entering transfers.
General End-User Requirements and Commercial, Industrial, Institutional (CII) Topics
Many Californians will have to continue to make real lifestyle changes in order to conserve water for what could be an extended drought. While the winter of 2015-16 brought some additional precipitation, it was not sufficient to end the statewide drought and we cannot predict what the next rainy season will bring. Saving water used outdoor helps preserve water to meet basic indoor needs such as toilet flushing, showers, clothes washing, food preparation, and cleanup. On average, 50 percent of residential water use in California is used for outdoor landscaping, particularly ornamental turf, in some places it is far more. Residents in hotter climates use more water. Residents in warmer regions of the state are encouraged to convert to a drought tolerant landscape when cooler weather and rains arrive in the fall, if they can; however, summertime lawn watering will need to be greatly reduced. Keeping trees alive and letting ornamental turf go golden is strongly encouraged. For tips on how to conserve water, visit www.SaveOurWater.com.
Under the Emergency Regulation and the Extended Emergency Regulation, each urban water supplier is required to reduce its total potable water production by a specified percentage. Water suppliers will determine locally the actions they will take to ensure that they are meeting these requirements. Residents of HOAs and HOAs themselves, to the extent they use water, are subject to the requirements of their local water supplier. In response to complaints that HOAs were penalizing homeowners for their water conservation practices, the Extended Emergency Regulation, Section 864(e)(1) includes penalties for HOAs that violate existing state laws that prohibit certain water use practices by homeowners during a drought emergency.
The Extended Emergency Regulation continues to only apply to potable water use. Irrigation with non-potable recycled water will not be affected.
Private well owners that do not receive water service are, like all Californians, subject to the individual prohibitions contained in the emergency regulation and Executive Orders. The prohibitions that apply to everyone include:
- Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways;
- Allowing runoff when irrigating with potable water;
- Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars;
- Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water;
- Irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following measureable rainfall;
- Irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians;
- Irrigation with potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings that is not delivered by drip or microspray systems; and
- Restaurants serving water to their customers unless the customer requests it.
Additionally, hotels and motels must offer their guests the option to not have their linens and towels laundered daily, and prominently display this option in each guest room.
Drought remains a critical concern. Rainfall has helped, but so far drought conditions remain in most of the state.
No. The emergency regulation only applies to potable water use. Areas irrigated with non-potable recycled water will not be affected.
- Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways;
- Allowing runoff when irrigating with potable water;
- Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars;
- Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water;
- Irrigating outdoors during and within 48 hours following measureable rainfall;
- Irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians; and
- Irrigation with potable water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings that is inconsistent with regulations or other requirements established by the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development.
In addition to the prohibitions that apply to all Californians,
- Restaurants are prohibited from serving water to their customers unless the customer requests it; and
- Hotels and motels must offer their guests the option to not have their linens and towels laundered daily, and prominently display this option in each guest room.
- Businesses that use water for manufacturing and other purposes
The emergency regulation does not assign percent reductions to specific sectors. Under the emergency regulation, water suppliers are given flexibility to achieve their conservation standards. Water suppliers will determine locally the actions necessary to ensure that they are meeting these requirements. This includes ensuring that their commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) sectors are contributing to the conservation standard. For many CII water users, the State Water Board envisions that the majority of their water savings would be achieved through a reduction in outdoor water use and improved efficiency. Contact your water supplier to learn more about local conservation actions.
- Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional (CII) properties that use a private well
The emergency regulation requires commercial, industrial, and institutional (CII) properties with an independent water supply (i.e., not served by a water supplier) to either limit outdoor irrigation to two days per week or target potable water use reductions commensurate with those required of the nearest urban water supplier and implement the reductions on or before July 1 2016 (see Section 864(c) of the regulation). Often, these properties have large landscapes that would otherwise not be addressed by this regulation.
- Communities that already use less water
Communities with lower per capita water use were assigned a lower conservation standard. Communities with higher water use are required to save more.
- Golf Courses
Golf courses, like all Californians, are subject to the individual end-user requirements contained in the emergency regulation. Furthermore, golf courses served by a water supplier are subject to the conservation actions determined by their water supplier. Additionally, golf courses with an independent water supply (i.e., not served by a water supplier in part or whole) are required to either limit outdoor irrigation to two days per week or target potable water use reductions commensurate with those required of the nearest urban water supplier. Contact your water supplier to learn more about local conservation actions and golf course requirements.
- Home Owners Associations (HOAs)
HOAs, like all Californians, are subject to the individual end-user requirements contained in the emergency regulation. Furthermore, HOAs served by a water supplier are subject to the conservation actions determined by their water supplier. Additionally, HOAs with an independent water supply (i.e., not served by a water supplier in part or whole) are required to either limit outdoor irrigation to two days per week or target potable water use reductions commensurate with those required of the nearest urban water supplier. Contact your water supplier to learn more about local conservation actions and HOA requirements.
- Homeowners with a private well
The conservation requirement will be met primarily through standards imposed on water suppliers. Private well owners that do not receive water service are, like all Californians, subject to the individual end-user prohibitions contained in the emergency regulation.
- Hospitals and health care facilities
The emergency regulation does not assign percent reductions to specific sectors. Under the emergency regulation, water suppliers are given flexibility to achieve their conservation standards. Water suppliers will determine locally the actions necessary to ensure that they are meeting these requirements. Regardless, institutions, such as hospitals, should evaluate whether a reduction in outdoor irrigation use could produce significant water savings. Contact your water supplier to learn more about local conservation actions.
No. The emergency regulation does not prohibit the filling of private or public swimming pools. However, water suppliers will decide how to meet their conservation standards, which could include limitations on the filling of swimming pools. Contact your water supplier to learn more about local conservation actions.
The Governor's April 1, 2015 Executive Order prohibits irrigation with potable water "outside of newly constructed homes and buildings" unless drip or microspray irrigation is used. This prohibition does not extend to new athletic fields and parks but is instead directed at ornamental landscapes associated with newly constructed homes and buildings. The state Buildings Standards Commission adopted emergency regulations to implement this prohibition effective June 2015; eliminating confusion about what standards builders have to comply with regarding this prohibition. It is not the intent of this prohibition to require replacement of irrigation systems that are already in place based on issued building permits and contracts for sale. The Commission’s informational bulletin provides links to each emergency standard covering nonresidential, residential, educational and health facilities.
The emergency regulation prohibits "irrigation with potable water outside of ornamental turf on public street medians." The emergency regulation does not include a specific definition of a median, but a median is commonly considered to be a strip of land between street lanes. In some cases, discretion and reasonable judgment will need to be exercised in determining whether certain areas are considered medians and subject to a regulation adopted by the State Water Board. Urban water suppliers and municipalities are urged to stop irrigating other non-functional ornamental turf, such as strips bordering street lanes. In addition, we are focused only on ornamental turf and encourage the irrigation and preservation of trees.
The emergency regulation prohibits "the application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall." The emergency regulation does not include a specific definition of measurable rainfall. The local water supplier and individuals will need to exercise discretion and reasonable judgment to determine whether a specific precipitation event triggers the prohibition. At a minimum any amount of rainfall that generates run-off or puddles should be considered measurable. Nothing in the emergency regulation prevents a water supplier from developing/adopting a definition of measurable rainfall for their service area.
Commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) properties with an independent water supply (not served by a water supplier) under the Extended Emergency Regulation continue to be required to either limit outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week or target potable water use reductions commensurate with those required of the nearest urban water supplier. Often, these properties have large landscapes that would otherwise not be addressed by this regulation but provide the same opportunity for appropriate conservation.
The water year starts October 1 and goes through September 30 of the following year. Given that most of the rain in California occurs by April 1 and very little occurs in the summer and early fall, we know whether a water year will be considered a "drought year" in late spring. That is why a declaration of a drought year occurs before the end of the water year, but technically, it is based on the water year. For example, the following water years represent California's recent drought.
- First drought year: Oct 1, 2011 - Sept 30, 2012
- Second drought year: Oct 1, 2012 - Sept 30, 2013
- Third drought year: Oct 1, 2013 - Sept 30, 2014
- Fourth drought year: Oct 1, 2014 - Sept 30, 2015
- Fifth drought year: Oct 1, 2015 - Sept 30, 2016
Water Supplier Topics
Monthly reporting will continue as long as the Drought Emergency Water Conservation regulation is in effect and requires reporting.
There is a time lag from when the State Water Board receives reports to when we are able to post this information in an Excel document. Water suppliers report their water production figures for a given month to the Board by the 15th of the subsequent month, and we usually post those numbers in the updated Excel spreadsheet by the end of that month. Check this webpage for current information: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/conservation_portal/conservation_reporting.shtml
Urban water suppliers serve more than 3,000 service connections or deliver more than 3,000 acre-feet of water in a year. There are over 400 urban water suppliers in the state. Small water suppliers serve 15 to 2,999 service connections or deliver less than 3,000 acre-feet of water in a year. There are over 2,900 small water suppliers through the state.
R-GPCD is the number of gallons of water per person per day used by the residential customers a supplier serves. R-GPCD is calculated using the following equation:
[(TMP*PRU) / TPS] / number of days in the month
Where: TMP is the Total Monthly Potable Water Production
PRU is the Percent Residential Use
TPS is the Total Population Served
Section 865(g) in the emergency regulation pertains to suppliers that are not urban water suppliers (i.e. small water suppliers). These suppliers need to submit an online report to the State Water Board by December 15, 2016 and describe the small supplier’s actions to encourage or require water conservation. The State Water Board will provide an on-line form to use for submitting information. A notification will be sent out once the online reporting tool is live for the December 2016 reports. This page has information about the small supplier reports: http://www.drinc.ca.gov/dnn/Applications/PublicWaterSystems/SmallWaterSupplierConservationReporting.aspx.
The emergency regulation and extended emergency regulation requires urban water suppliers to report:
- Monthly total potable water production;
- Residential gallons per capita per day (R-GPCD);
- Contributions of the commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) sector; and
- Compliance and enforcement efforts.
Yes, a large urban water supplier can become a small water supplier if they consistently deliver less than 3000 acre feet of water to fewer than 3000 customers.
Yes. Urban water suppliers delivering potable water to commercial agriculture may be allowed to modify the amount of water subject to their conservation standard. To be eligible, urban water suppliers must do all of the following:
- Provide written certification to the State Water Board to be able to subtract the water supplied to commercial agriculture from their total potable water production for baseline conservation purposes;
- Impose water use reductions for commercial agricultural users served by the supplier;
- Report the amount of water supplied for commercial agricultural use monthly; and
- Comply with the Agricultural Management Plan requirement in the Governor's April 1, 2015 Executive Order.
Water suppliers should account for increased water use due to future building activity in their identification and implementation of conservation actions to achieve the conservation standard for their service area. For example, some agencies have used an offset system, where new buildings retrofit older buildings to achieve water savings equal to or greater than the use they propose to add.
Contact the Department of Water Resources for questions regarding actions directed to the Department in the Governor's April 1, 2015 Executive Order.
2013 is used as the baseline and shows pre-drought water use. In January 2014 The Governor’s Executive Order officially declared a drought emergency. To evaluate water saving after implementation of the mandatary conservation standards that started in June 2015, comparisons are made against 2013 water use for the same month. All comparisons are to 2013 (including Jan - May 2016).
A water supplier’s emergency conservation standard is based on water use for the months of July - September 2014. The summer months of 2014 were used to establish each urban water supplier’s conservation standard because the hot summer months have the most water use, primarily comprised of outdoor irrigation, and voluntary water conservation efforts were in place. This represents the highest water use with voluntary measures in place.
Please see the fact sheet that describes how the State Water Board assesses compliance with the mandatory conservation standards. http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/conservation_portal/docs/factsheet/assessing_compliance.pdf.
Adjustments to Conservation Standards (Feb - March 15, 2016)
A new permanent resident is one who occupies a residence in the supplier's service area other than for a temporary or transitory purpose, that was not counted as a permanent resident before 2013. Part-time residents do not count as permanent residents.
Preferably new permanent residents figures will be calculated in the same manner the number of pre-existing permanent residents was calculated for purposes of this emergency regulation, however suppliers may calculate the number of new permanent residents using a persons per connection average or using other sources of verifiable population data if the previously-used method is not available or does not reflect current data.
A new, local, drought resilient source of supply is a supply that meets the following criteria:
- The source of supply was developed since 2013
- The use of the source does not reduce the water available to another legal user of water or the environment
- The supply adds to local freshwater resources and is resilient to drought impacts. Types of supplies that add to local freshwater resources and are resilient to drought impacts may include: Seawater desalination, Indirect or direct potable reuse of wastewater, and Desalination of brackish groundwater. Supplies that augment existing freshwater sources, such as conjunctive use, aquifer storage and recovery, and surface water diversion and impoundment, are not eligible for the credit.
A new activated CII connection may include a site that previously had a water account, provided there has been zero potable water use from that location since 2013. This means that in some cases, new CII connections may arise from existing building stock, not just new construction.
You do not need to submit further information for the default adjustment to occur. The default adjustment for climate will take effect for any qualifying urban water supplier automatically March 1, 2016 unless the supplier submits the information identified in section 865, subdivision (f)(1)(D) of the regulation to support an in-lieu climate adjustment.
Submissions for adjustments and credit received by March 15, 2016 will be applied to a supplier's March 2016 conservation standard. Information submitted after March 15, 2016 will not be reviewed.
Recycled water used for irrigation and other non-potable applications is not included in the total potable monthly water production numbers used for calculating compliance with a supplier's conservation standard. It helps lower the initial conservation standard. Direct delivery of recycled water prior to 2013 will in most cases have reduced potable water usage, leading to a correspondingly lower initial conservation standard.
We took the average of the default values for all 411 urban water suppliers. This number may be revised based on changes to those default values. We didn't use a population-weighted average because population is not related to evapotranspiration rates.
A cap helps ensure appropriate conservation continues while drought conditions persist.
Compliance and Enforcement Topics
All suppliers must meet their conservation standards. For those suppliers that fall out of compliance, the State Water Board will continue to implement compliance assistance and progressive enforcement as appropriate (e.g., send warning letter, notice of violation, conservation order). In the specific case of a supplier with a zero conservation standard, should the cumulative usage begin to exceed that of 2013, progressive enforcement actions may be taken and violators are subject to civil liability of up to $500 for each day the violation occurs.
Suppliers must submit accurate data in their self-certification for their calculated conservation standard. However, they may also choose a higher conservation target to enforce locally. There is a place on the online self-certification form to indicate a supplier's target should they choose to have one. The State Water Board will only initiate progressive enforcement actions based on a supplier's self-certified standard; not their own local target.
Yes, compliance remains cumulative under both extensions of the emergency regulation in February and May 2016. Note that the cumulative basis has changed under the May 2016 extension. For those urban water suppliers that have a new self-certified conservation standard, their cumulative basis begins in June 2016. For any urban water supplier that continues using its March 2016 conservation standard, their cumulative basis does not change, i.e., cumulative from June 2015.
If an urban water supplier believes that the applicable conservation standard is unachievable due to firm commercial and industrial water use and residential use reductions that would affect public health and safety, Resolution 2015-0032 (see paragraph 16) allows an urban water supplier to submit a request, accompanied by supporting information or documentation, for alternate enforceable methods of compliance with the conservation standard. The Board has issued Alternate Compliance Orders to several water suppliers with different localized water use situations including significant food processing, power generation, and petroleum refining uses by the urban water suppliers’ customers. Information on Alternate Compliance Orders issued to date are found on this webpage: Information on Alternate Compliance Orders issued to date are found on this webpage: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/conservation_portal/alternate_compliance_orders.shtml
To determine if urban water suppliers are meeting required use reductions, water production data, as reported monthly by each individual water supplier will be compared to the same period(s) in 2013. Given the severity of the current drought, compliance will be assessed both on a monthly and a cumulative basis under the emergency regulation, which remains in effect through January 2017.
The State Water Board will continue to evaluate compliance each month and may take additional action on a case-by-case basis.
The State Water Board is primarily responsible for enforcing the required reductions in water use. The emergency regulation includes two additional enforcement tools that could be used alone, or in combination with other tools, to address the following compliance problems:
- Failure of water suppliers to file reports as required by the regulation;
- Failure to implement prohibitions and restrictions as described in the Governor's executive orders and the emergency regulation; and
- Failure of water suppliers to meet the assigned water use conservation standard.
Violations of prohibited and restricted activities are considered infractions and are punishable by fines of up to $500 for each day in which the violation occurs. Any peace officer or employee of a public agency charged with enforcing laws and authorized to do so by ordinance may issue a citation to the violator. In many areas, local water suppliers have additional compliance and enforcement authorities that will continue to be used to address water waste.
The potable urban water use reduction requirement and associated reporting applies to urban water suppliers, not subdivisions of local government.
Water suppliers that are significantly off-track in meeting their conservation standard will be directed to submit information on their conservation actions, rates and pricing and enforcement efforts to determine the actions needed to come into compliance. The State Water Board will assess this information, including factors beyond the water supplier's control, as it considers next steps.
Provision 8 of the Governor's April 1, 2015 Executive Order directs the State Water Board to work with water agencies and state agencies to identify mechanisms that will encourage the adoption of rate structures and other pricing mechanisms to maximize conservation. The State Water Board is currently engaging with state agencies, water suppliers, and other stakeholders to address the financial, technical, political, and legal challenges associated with changing rates, surcharges, and other fees. As one element of its implementation, the State Water Board will provide resources to facilitate the development and enhancement of water rate structures that encourage efficient water use. These resources, and information on implementation of Provision 8, are available at the Water Board's Conservation Water Pricing website at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/pricing/.
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