Water Conservation Portal

Water Conservation Emergency Regulations

Proposed Water Conservation Emergency Regulation – May 2022

On March 28, 2022, Governor Newsom directed the State Water Board to consider adopting an emergency regulation for urban water conservation. See more information on the emergency regulation below.

Proposed Timeline

  • May 13, 2022: Agenda item with proposed emergency regulation text posted on State Water Board website (see links below)
  • May 19, 2022: Agenda identifies written public comment period closing May 19, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. (Noon)
  • May 24, 2022: State Water Board will consider adoption of the emergency regulation during the Board meeting (Agenda Item 3)
  • Week of June 6-10, 2022: Emergency regulation expected to take effect, depending on State Water Board action and Office of Administrative Law process

Emergency Regulation Documents

Public Comment until May 19, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. (Noon)
Submittal of written comments on the proposed emergency regulation text (link above) must be received by 12:00 p.m. (Noon) on May 19, 2022 and will not be accepted after that time. Submittals are to be sent via e-mail to the Clerk to the Board at commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov. Please indicate in the subject line, 05/24/2022 BOARD MEETING – ITEM 3 EMERGENCY REGULATION FOR WATER CONSERVATION.

Public Webinar on April 21, 2022
On April 21, 2022, State Water Resources Control Board staff held a public webinar to receive input regarding the development of a proposed emergency regulation to implement directives in Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-7-22, specifically paragraphs 3 and 4 relating to urban water supply and demand assessments, Level 2 shortage response actions, and defining and banning the irrigation of non-functional turf in the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors. The webinar gave interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions about the staff proposals in advance of the State Water Board’s formal emergency rulemaking process.

Water Conservation Emergency Regulation – January 2022

Governor Newsom proclaimed a drought state of emergency for all counties in California, culminating, to date, with his October 19, 2021, proclamation, urging Californians to step up their water conservation efforts. The State Water Board found that an emergency existed due to severe drought conditions and that adoption of an emergency regulation was necessary. Immediate action was needed to ensure all Californians were taking sufficient actions to conserve water and preserve the State’s water supply. On January 4, 2022, the State Water Board adopted an emergency regulation. On January 18, 2022, the emergency regulation became effective. It will remain in effect for one year from the effective date, unless the State Water Board acts to end, modify, or readopt it. 

Emergency Regulation Requirements (more in the documents below)

  • Turn off decorative water fountains
  • Turn off/pause your irrigation system when it's raining and for two days after rain
  • Use an automatic shutoff nozzle on your water hose
  • Use a broom, not water, to clean sidewalks and driveways
  • Give trees just what they need: avoid overwatering

Emergency Regulation Documents

Emergency Rulemaking Archive

Following unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow, on April 7, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. ended the drought State of Emergency in most of California, while maintaining water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during or right after rainfall. Executive Order B‑40‑17 lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies. The Order also rescinds two emergency proclamations from January and April 2014 and four drought-related Executive Orders issued in 2014 and 2015. Executive Order B-40-17 builds on actions taken in Executive Order B‑37‑16, which remains in effect, to continue making water conservation a way of life in California. The State Water Resources Control Board maintains urban water use reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during or after rainfall, hosing off sidewalks and irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians. As directed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in Executive Order B-37-16, the Board will separately take action to make reporting and wasteful water practices permanent.

State Water Board Partially Repeals Emergency Regulation on April 26, 2017

The Executive Director for the State Water Resources Control Board rescinds the water supply stress test requirements and remaining mandatory conservation standards for urban water suppliers. The action was in response to Governor Brown's announcement earlier this month ending the drought state of emergency and transitioning to a permanent framework for making water conservation a California way of life. Current prohibitions against wasteful water use practices and requirements for monthly water use reporting remain in place.

Supporting Documents Process

Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life, Implementing Executive Order B-37-16 On Wednesday, November 30, 2016, State Agencies released to the public a draft report for Making Water Conservation A California Way of Life. The Draft Report addresses elements of Executive Order B-37-16, which asked five state agencies to develop a framework for using water more wisely, eliminating water waste, strengthening local drought resilience, and improving agricultural water use efficiency and drought planning. The public agencies, including the Department of Water Resources, State Water Board, California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and Department of Food and Agriculture, will accept comments on the report through December 19, 2016 (please send all comments to: wue@water.ca.gov).

Self-Certification of Supply Reliability "Stress Test" Results - August 2016 State Water Board Adopts Emergency Regulation on May 18, 2016

Emergency Regulation and Implementation Supporting Documents

Process to Adjust February 2016 Regulation in Response to Precipitation Since February 2016

State Water Boards Adopts Extended Regulations for Water Conservation on February 2, 2016

Documents on Implementation of the Regulation

Emergency Regulations Supporting Documents

Public Workshop and Workgroup

Information in this section pertains to the rulemaking process for the emergency regulation that went into effect on May 18, 2015.


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