On May 24, 2022, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a statewide emergency drought regulation.
The new regulation requires urban water suppliers to implement Level 2 demand reduction measures from their water shortage contingency plans, regardless of local water supply conditions. The order also bans irrigation of non-functional grass at commercial, industrial and institutional properties, and in homeowner’s association common areas. The ban does not apply to residential lawns, community spaces or sports fields.
The regulation was in response to Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-7-22 issued on March 28, 2022.
In California, droughts are part of life, and so is using water wisely. Helix Water District and the other water utilities serving the San Diego region have worked together for decades to plan for water shortages, encourage conservation and invest in new water resources. These steps help protect us against drought and are the reason why we have sufficient supplies to meet demand through at least five consecutive years of drought.
Many water supplier representatives from throughout the state, including Helix Water District Board President Kathleen Hedberg, attended the May 24 SWRCB meeting to request that local water supply and demand be taken into account and that Level 2 watering restrictions should only apply to areas with an actual water shortage.
Despite the requests of representatives whose agencies have sufficient water supplies, like Helix, the SWRCB unanimously approved the regulation. The state expects the new regulations to go into effect in June 2022.