Emergency and Conservation Resolution Templates

Several counties and local water districts have already declared a drought emergency. If your local government or water district needs to declare a drought emergency or pass a voluntary conservation resolution, you can use customizable templates for download below. These templates cite sections of the California Water Code and Government Code, but each agency can also cite any applicable local ordinances or local codes. Additional language will need to be added to address local conditions, especially to establish facts that support making any necessary resolutions.

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) has been tracking how local water agencies across California take action in the face of dry conditions. Visit their response gallery on How California Water Agencies Are Responding to Record-Dry Conditions .


Long Term Planning

In the long term, your community can take effective actions to conserve water and reduce water scarcity through planning and policy. For example, integrating best practices such as low impact development, efficient landscape irrigation, conservation, use of recycled water, and awareness of the effect of development on groundwater recharge can have a big impact on water quality and supply. We suggest you explore updating your general plan or more specific plans like a local hazard mitigation plan, zoning, and local ordinances to prepare to drought impacts and include up to date information and requirements for water conservation, retention and quality.

Local and state planning and development efforts throughout the state should reflect the ongoing need to conserve water in California. The Institute for Local Government has examples of policies and ordinances and an extensive Water Conservation Leadership Guide  .

If you haven’t already, develop local ordinances related to water conservation and use of recycled water. Information on California’s model water efficient landscape ordinance, by the Department of Water Resources on their website: http://www.water.ca.gov/wateruseefficiency/landscapeordinance/  , which includes a guidance document for cities and counties for navigating the ordinance process.

Large urban water suppliers are required to submit an urban water management plan (UWMP)   to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). If you are a local agency and have not done so already, please help develop the UWMP and its water shortage contingency plans for extreme dry years. UWMPs are required for suppliers that deliver 3,000 acre-feet of water annually, or serve more than 3,000 urban connections. More info on the 2015 UWMP process is available from DWR  .

Local jurisdictions must prepare a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) and update every 5 years, pursuant to the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. These are reviewed and approved by the California Office of Emergency Services (view approved plans). If your county or community has adopted a LHMP, or is in the process of updating it, this would be an appropriate document for codifying strategies related to the mitigation of hazards like drought. While many counties in California proclaimed emergencies for the drought, few counties have listed drought as a risk or hazard in their LHMP (learn more  ).

If your community is undergoing Climate Action Planning, resources are available to help integrate climate adaptation actions within Local Hazard Mitigation Plans. The California Adaptation Planning Guide (APG)  , in particular, is a set of four complementary documents, provides guidance to support communities in addressing the unavoidable consequences of climate change.

Visit the Additional Resources page and for other planning resources.