Making Water Conservation the California Way of Life
FAQs on what Long Beach can expect from the new water use efficiency legislation
In California, droughts are a part of life, and the next dry year is always right around the corner. To best prepare our state for future dry years, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills into law on May 31, 2018, that will have a lasting impact on our state, changing the way we use water in homes, businesses and the agricultural community.
The two bills together establish a new, more comprehensive framework for both urban and agricultural water conservation and water use efficiency, including water use goals for urban water agencies, like Long Beach Water Department (LBWD), and additional requirements for managing water for our future and local drought planning.
Long Beach residents and businesses consistently do their part to use water efficiently, no matter the weather. Water use efficiency is, and has always been, our way of life in Long Beach. There are no immediate impacts to Long Beach residents from these new laws, in part because of how dedicated our community already is to saving water. Over time, we expect there will be only minimal impacts to customers who already live a water-efficient lifestyle.
Looking forward to the next decade, we are confident that our community will continue setting a great example of how to most wisely use our most precious and limited natural resource. Remember: small changes in our daily water use habits now add up to big water savings for our future.
What do the new laws do?
Over the next several years, specific water use targets will be set for Long Beach Water’s overall service area based upon the standards outlined in the new laws. These new lower targets are not set on an individual household or per person level. LBWD will be held accountable for achieving the water efficiency standard, which is calculated on an overall LBWD system-wide basis (not an individual basis). LBWD will begin the state-mandated reporting our system-wide average water usage in 2023.
The conservation framework includes an initial water use efficiency standard for a city-wide annual average for indoor water use of 55 gallons per person per day. This standard will be stepped down slightly over time to become more efficient.
Can I shower and do laundry at the same time?
The new laws are intended to address system-wide, not individual, water use levels. You might have heard some rumors about not being able to shower and do laundry at the same time. Rest assured, the new water conservation laws absolutely do not specify when or how often any person may shower or do laundry.
Will individual residents and businesses be fined for not meeting water use targets?
No, individual residents and businesses will not be fined for not meeting the new water use targets. Your water provider is held accountable to meeting the standard.
How will the new laws impact me at my home?
The initial indoor target of 55 gallons per person per day is calculated across the Long Beach Water’s service area every year. That goal does not include outdoor water use, which will have its own separate goal.
We all have a role to play in helping to achieve the state’s water saving goals. LBWD provides a number of innovative customer support programs and initiatives to help you – our valued residents and businesses – be more water efficient.
To learn more, visit:
- Water use efficiency tips and hacks – liveh2olb.com
- Lawn-to-Garden turf removal incentive and support – lblawntogarden.com, 562.570.2312
- Rebates for high efficiency devices – socalwatersmart.com
- Certified Blue Restaurant program – blue.lbwater.org
- High water bill investigation – Call 562.570.2412
- Commercial and multi-family incentives and programs – lbwater.org
- Report a water waster hotline – To anonymously report water waste call 562.570.2455
There are current water use restrictions in Long Beach that have been in place since 2016. The main water use restrictions for residents and businesses include:
- Only water landscape during the hot summer months on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until September 30, 2018. Two-day per week landscape irrigation on Tuesdays and Saturdays only will begin on October 1, 2018 until the end of March when the weather is typically cooler.
- Only water landscape before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
- Only water landscape for 10 minutes per watering station per day, or 20 minutes if using water efficient rotating nozzles
- No watering landscape during measurable rainfall or anytime within 48 hours afterwards
- No watering your landscape wastefully that results in unreasonable runoff
- No washing down hardscape (driveways, sidewalks) with a hose unless using a pressurized device
- No wasting of water due to breaks, leaks or other device malfunctions
- No washing a vehicle with a hose that does not have a water shut-off nozzle that prevents water from running continuously while washing
- Cover pools and spas when not in use
For a full list of water use restrictions please visit lbwater.org/water-use-prohibitions.
How will the new laws impact me in my businesses?
While the new laws do not set specific water use targets for businesses, they do outline a framework for developing new commercial water efficiency performance measures. The performance measures are recommended actions for specific business sectors to improve water efficiency over time. Some examples of business sectors are schools, manufacturing, office buildings, restaurants, hotels and laundromats.
Specific performance measures for the different sectors will be determined over the next several years. The process will include opportunities for business-owner input.
Long Beach Water provides many water-saving programs and incentives for businesses, including restaurant owners. For restaurant owners looking to become certified in water use efficiency, visit blue.lbwater.org for more information about our Certified Blue Restaurant program.
The water use restrictions outlined previously also apply to businesses, and there are additional business-specific water use restrictions in place. For a full list, please visit lbwater.org/water-use-prohibitions.
What is Long Beach Water doing to help implement the new laws?
Long Beach Water will be working with the State Water Board and other state agencies over the next several years to define how the new laws will be implemented. We are also helping lay the groundwork by investing in research, data and programs in our community to better understand how the new laws can best be implemented in Long Beach and throughout California.
As the new laws are rolled out, LBWD may be developing additional programs and initiatives to achieve the state’s goals. We appreciate your continued support and dedication to our water-wise way of life. You can stay up to date on news and information at lbwater.org.