The nozzle just got tightened a bit on water use in California -- but only a bit.
Regulators today added new restrictions to those put in place last summer. Urban water customers will have a few more "don'ts" added to the list that came out last July, which includes prohibitions on things like washing your car without a shutoff nozzle and hosing down "hardscapes" like sidewalks and driveways.
The new measures, approved by the State Water Resources Control Board, are a set of minimum standards for local water agencies, which have broad latitude to set and enforce conservation measures. Under the new rules:
- Restaurants may only serve water if customers ask for it
- No outdoor watering within 48 hours after any rain
- 2 day-per-week cap on watering lawns and landscaping
Local agencies will have 45 days to comply. Outside watering is a prime target as it makes up 44 percent of total urban water use. Local agencies have some flexibility with the two-day rule if they already have similar restrictions in place to achieve the same ends.
There are also new reporting standards for local water agencies on restrictions they've put in place and agencies are required to notify customers with known water leaks on their properties.
All of the measures seem tame compared to recent calls for statewide rationing, such as the one by NASA earth scientist Jay Famiglietti recently in the Los Angeles Times.