What California’s New Water Regulations Mean to You

Don’t go rogue with the hose

As California enters a fourth year of severe drought, it’s clear the state is in trouble; To boost water conservation efforts, the State Water Resources Control Board took action earlier this month, enacting a new round of emergency regulations.

What might be less clear is what those regulations are and what they mean to everyday Angelenos. Here’s what you need to know:

Effective immediately, all Californians are prohibited from washing down driveways and sidewalks, causing runoff when watering outdoor plants, and washing a vehicle using a hose without a shut-off nozzle.

It’s time to turn off your decorative fountains. The regulations prohibit the operations of outdoor water features without recirculating systems.

Give the gardening a break if it rains. Irrigating turf or decorative landscapes during rainfall or 48 hours after a downpour is prohibited.

Speak up if you’re thirsty. The new rules stipulate that restaurants can only serve water to customers upon request.

Hotels must provide guests with the option to not have their linens and towels laundered daily under the new guidelines. Less loads of laundry mean less water waste.

Water suppliers must also shoulder more responsibility for conserving. Suppliers are expected to limit outdoor irrigation, monitor and report leaks, and report water usage, along with compliance and enforcement of water regulations, each month.

The last time the California Water Boards imposed direct water-saving restrictions was July 2014 as an emergency regulation. The latest measures expand upon these rules, which specifically targeted outdoor conservation. Keeping our landscaping hydrated accounts for 50- to 80-percent of water use in some California communities, according to the Water Board.

Water in L.A.