In February, state water regulators met to consider making the water wasting rules that were in effect during the last drought, such as carrying fines of up to $500 per violation, permanent. Members of the State Water Resources Control Board and representatives of several cities and water agencies indicated general support for the proposal when they met in February, but no final vote was made. The water wasting rules, which were put in place temporarily between 2014 and 2017 under emergency orders from the governor, expired on November 25, 2017, but Gov. Brown has endorsed making the rules a permanent part of California law, even when the state is not in a drought. Kyle Jones, a policy advocate with Sierra Club California, stated,
We are always for stronger and broader efforts on conservation and efficiency. They are the most cost-effective and best thing we can do to prepare California for what could be another drought this year, and droughts that will be caused in the future by climate change.
The staff of the State Water Resources Control Board began moving forward with Gov. Brown’s endorsement to make the rules a permanent part of the law. Under the board’s proposal, it would be illegal to do things in California such as excessively irritating your lawn to the point that water runs off into the sidewalk or an adjacent property. Some people were worried that the rules would affect water rights, but board staff said that the draft rules wouldn’t affect water rights. We will have to wait and see of the proposal gets passed.