Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency throughout the State of California due to “Severe Drought” conditions.
That was Jan. 17th, 2014, and not much happened.
Then in April 25th, 2014 that the State of Emergency was proclaimed a “Continued State of Emergency”
Again, not much happened but we had record low snowpack dwindling reservoirs rivers and streams to a trickle, and no one knew for sure how much or how high or anything about the underground aquifers and the demands placed upon them across the state.
Drinking water shortages happened in 17 Rural California Communities Agricultural Water began to become compromised and supply reduced, and now there are accusations farmers are stealing water from the Sacramento Delta. The habitat for wild fish across California is in peril, and a mere 11 miles from San Francisco the Muir Woods Salmon has vanished and is feared to be extinct. The State is opening the 2015 Fire Season more than a month early in what is already shaping up to be a grim California Fire Season.
On April 1st, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown issued a document Executive Order B-29-15
which contained the following words:
“The Magnitude of the current drought conditions continues to present threats beyond the control of services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat.”
The 8th largest economy in the World, an economy larger than the Russian Economy, Russia a country 1.8 times the size of the entire United States, that 8th largest economy cannot depend on independent counties and cities to fend for themselves in the wake of this drought.
So, Governor Jerry Brown issued B-29-15 and effective immediately this is what California is looking at:
1. The State Water Control Board shall impose restrictions to achieve a Statewide 25% reduction in water consumption, and this impacts private for-profit water providers. Article
2. The Department of Water Resources shall lead a statewide initiative to replace 50,000,000 square feet of lawns and ornamental landscapes with drought-tolerant landscapes. Article
3. The California Energy Commission & the Department of Water Resources & Water Board shall implement a time-limited statewide appliance rebate program. Article
4. The Water Board shall immediately impose a 25% reduction of Potable Water usage for State Agencies, Institutions, and Private Users – Golf Courses- Cemeteries, etc. Article
5. The Water Board shall prohibit irrigation of ornamental turf on public medians with Potable Water. Article
6. The Water Board shall prohibit irrigation with Potable Water outside of newly constructed homes and buildings not delivered by drip or micro-spray systems.
7. The Water Board shall be directed to find mechanisms that would encourage the adoption of rate structures (billing) and other pricing that would promote water conservation. Article
8. The Water Board shall require frequent reporting of water diversion and use by water rights holders, and can conduct inspections by warrant if necessary. Article
9. The State Water Department shall update the State Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance through expedited regulation including more efficient irrigation systems, greywater usage, on-site stormwater capture, and limiting the portion of the landscape that can be covered by turf. Article
10. Agricultural Suppliers that supply water to more than 25,000 acres (as well as smaller suppliers to 10,000 to 25,000 acres) of Agricultural Land are required to include in their Agricultural Water Management Program a detailed drought management plan. And the Water Board will report on those plans within one month of receipt. Article
11. Local water agencies in high and medium-priority groundwater basins shall immediately implement all requirements of the California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Program pursuant to Water Code section 10933. The Water Department shall refer non-compliant local water agencies to the Water Board by Dec. 31, 2015, which shall consider adopting regulations or taking appropriate enforcement to promote compliance. Article
12. California Energy Commission shall adopt emergency regulations establishing standards to improve the efficiency of “water” appliances. Article
13. California Energy Commission jointly with the Department of Water and Water Board shall implement a Water Energy Technology (WET) program. Article
14. The Office of Emergency Services & The Department of Housing – Community Development shall work jointly with counties to provide temporary assistance for persons moving from housing units due to a lack of potable water.
15. State permitting agencies shall prioritize the review and approval of water infrastructure projects and programs that increase local water supplies. Article
16. State Water Department shall take actions required to plan and implement Emergency Drought Salinity Barriers in coordination with the Water Board and Department of Fish & Wildlife. Article
17. The Water Department shall consider voluntary crop idling water transfer and water exchange proposals for one year. Article
18. The Water Board will prioritize new and amended safe drinking water permits that enhance water supply and reliability for community systems facing shortages. Article
19. California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection shall launch a campaign to educate the public on wildfire prevention. Article
20. The Energy Commission shall expedite the processing of all applications or petitions for amendments to power plant certification issued by the Energy Commission for the purpose of securing alternate water supply necessary for continued power plant operation. Article
21. Various aspects of the Public Resources Code & Water Code are suspended to hasten the above objectives. Article
22. The Director of the Department of Water may request the Secretary of the Army regarding the Army Corps of Engineers by the authority vested in the Central Valley Flood Protection Board pursuant to section 14 of the Rivers & Harbors Act. Article
23. The Water Department is directed to enter into agreements with landowners for the purposes of planning and installation of Emergency Drought Barriers. Article
Executive Order B-29-15 is a sweeping piece of legislation giving the Waterboard the authority to negotiate land deals, to enforcement powers, to suspension of aspects of previously established codes so as to not hinder this order. But, will it have any effect? Will anything actually happen?
National Storage Tank will help rural water companies, tribal water agencies, and family farmers during this drought by discounting our tanks, for information on that program email our Director of Development HERE
Let’s hope this time California responds and realizes the true nature of this crisis and something actually “happens”.