Friday September 1, 2023

The Mercury News

Dozens of California cities could be required to impose permanent water conservation measures starting in about a year — and keep them in place even when the state is not in a drought — under proposed new rules from state water regulators.

The landmark rules are required by two laws that former Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2018 after a severe five-year drought. Environmentalists and some water districts support them, saying they are critical as the state grapples with climate change and more severe droughts. But some water agencies have been strongly opposed, saying Sacramento is beginning a new era of micro-managing how local communities use water.

Under the new rules, roughly 400 of the California’s largest cities and water districts are required to come up with a water-use budget every year beginning Jan. 1, 2025. They could eventually face fines of up to $1,000 a day — and $10,000 a day during drought emergencies — for failing to set and meet appropriate targets.

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