So, let's get this out of the way - Recent legislation signed by outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown did NOT make it against the law in several cities to shower and do laundry on the same day.
Kritopher Tjernell from the Department of Water Resources pushed back against the rumor, which originated on the far-right conspiratorial website Zero Hedge.
"There is absolutely nothing in this legislation that either restricts an individual's ability to use water, or would result in any sort of financial penalty against them for doing so."
The bogus story reported that two bills (SB 606 and AB 1668) recently signed into law by Brown, would make it illegal to take a shower and do a load of laundry on the same day because residents would exceed their 'ration.'
However, neither bill has any kind of language in it that would prevent or penalize residents in California for their water use (and to be honest, how could they even tell which water was going where?).
Instead, the bills outline conservation mandates for water districts on a larger scale over time, rather than focusing on any one individual's use. The legislation prompts the water agencies in California to set methods and goals to reduce per-capita use over time starting in 2022. Fines could be imposed starting in 2027 if the water districts fail to meet their goals.
"For this particular district, and this particular climate, with this particular amount of landscaping across the district with this type of residential makeup, vs commercial, industrial, institutional, this is the reasonable goal," said Tjernell.
California has always had problems with having enough water for its 38 million residents, recently emerged from a historic five-year period during which most of the state remained in the extreme or exceptional drought levels. Gov. Brown lifted the drought emergency on April 2, 2017, but said that the state must continue its water conservation efforts.
In a statement released by the governor's office, Brown pointed to the legislation as an effort to prepare the Golden State for the next drought by incentivizing residents to install drought-resistant landscaping instead of water-thirsty lawns.
“In preparation for the next drought and our changing environment, we must use our precious resources wisely. We have efficiency goals for energy and cars – and now we have them for water,” said Governor Brown.
SB 606 and AB 1668 establish guidelines for efficient water use and a framework for the implementation and oversight of the new standards, which must be in place by 2022. The two bills strengthen the state’s water resiliency in the face of future droughts with provisions that include:
-Establishing an indoor, per person water use goal of 55 gallons per day until 2025, 52.5 gallons from 2025 to 2030 and 50 gallons beginning in 2030.
-Creating incentives for water suppliers to recycle water.
-Requiring both urban and agricultural water suppliers to set annual water budgets and prepare for drought.
Tjnernell says that if residents want to help with the water crisis, they don't have to give up showering, or doing laundry.
"Water management happens on a lot of different levels, and sometimes it's really difficult to know what we as individuals can do to contribute to that. And I think one of the things that we can do, is support policies like this and do our best to implement them," said Tjnernell.
Photo: Getty Images