New Water Restrictions Coming To California

Governor Jerry Brown has just approved some new water restrictions that will go into effect in a few years, and we break down what it means.

By nowproducerdave on June 5, 2018
(Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Brace yourself, the new water restrictions are coming. So at this very moment (06-05-18), Sacramento and Placer Counties are not experiencing a drought. Despite that, the California Governor, Jerry Brown, has approved a new set of water restrictions that will go in place by the year 2022. That’s not all though – by 2030, those restrictions will become even tighter.

Under the new rules, each person will only be allowed about 55 gallons of water per day. That might seem like a lot, but if you break it down, it’s close to what we might use on a busy day. The average shower uses about 17 gallons in roughly 8 minutes. If you’re taking a 20 or 30 minute shower, well, you’re pushing about 30-40 gallons right there. Toilets can use anywhere between a gallon to 5 or more per flush, depending on the type you have. Washing dishes after dinner can push probably up to 10 gallons. Doing the math (conservatively) on those figures, say a 12 minute shower, 3 toilet flushes a day, dishes, plus a few extra gallons for miscellaneous (brushing teeth, filling a water bottle, etc), and we’re already looking at around 60 gallons already. That’s not including throwing a load of laundry in, either.

Now, here’s where it gets more reasonable. It doesn’t say specifically, but let’s think about it. They’re not going to monitor your water usage per day, right? It’s likely going to be averaged out over some period of time – probably 30 days. So if you only use 1,500 gallons of water in a month, that works out to 50 per day, which is under their limit. Even if you use 100 gallons or more one day, you can make up for it on other days. Those restrictions are per person, too. So 4 people in a house will be allowed a household water use of 220 gallons per day.

Modern faucets, toilets, and showerheads use a lot less water. By the way, the Sacramento Suburban Water District offers rebates on new toilets, and complimentary faucets and showerheads that are more efficient, according to spokesperson Greg Bundesen. He also says that the average water district loses about 30% of their water before it even hits houses due to leaks in their own systems. So they’ve clearly got some work to do themselves. See more on the water restrictions here.

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