Conservation Resources for Water Systems

On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued the fourth in a series of executive orders on actions necessary to address California’s severe drought conditions. The Executive Order   imposed restrictions to achieve a 25% reduction in potable urban water usage statewide through February 2016, authorized replacing 50 million square feet of lawns and ornamental turf with drought tolerant landscapes, and instituted a time-limited statewide appliance rebate program, among other directives. If drought conditions persist, a November 2015 Executive Order   authorized the Water Board to extend conservation regulations through October 31, 2016.


Promote water conservation in your operations, among your residents and with industrial and agricultural water users in your jurisdiction. Conservation is an essential part of the state’s water management strategy: in past droughts conservation campaigns have achieved significant reductions in water usage. Conservation increases flexibility to allocate water for drinking, agricultural, industrial use and fire protection services throughout California communities.

On May 5, 2015, the State Water Board adopted Emergency Conservation Regulations to address specific provisions of the April 1 Executive Order, including the mandatory 25% statewide reduction in potable urban water use between June 2015 and February 2016. Visit the State Water Board's Conservation Portal   to identify the specific requirement for your jurisdiction and download the factsheet here  .


Keep in touch with the state to coordinate the most comprehensive and effective drought response. Each week, your county emergency services staff and tribal leaders participate in conference calls with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) to coordinate emergency management and communication and share best practices. Please work with your emergency manager to learn more about this coordination. If you are unsure of who your County’s emergency liaison to state OES is, you can find out here  .

Local governments continue to be the source of great ideas to deal with the drought, such as a weekly public service announcement from the County Sheriff or public workshops to teach citizens how to monitor their private wells.


Your residents will conserve more water if they understand the situation and how important conservation is. Get the latest drought information with the Governor’s Office Weekly Drought Update  . Visit the Drought Clearinghouse’s State Agency page for information about all state’s drought efforts.

People looking at drought-tolerant plants.

Photo Credit: California Department of Water Resources

House with dying grass

Jenny Lester Moffitt, the CDFA Deputy Secretary recently visited the community of East Porterville in Tulare County. She was struck by how well the community is working together – neighbors helping each other, local non-profit organizations offering assistance, and government agencies finding ways to soften the immediate impacts while working toward long-term solutions. Read more about her visit on the CDFA blog  .