In the face of a record-shattering drought, California lawmakers have instituted extreme measures to ensure that home owners around the state are doing whatever they can now, and in the future, to conserve diminishing resources. One of the most recent of these measures is the new retrofitting law, which went into effect January 1, 2014.
Under the newest provisions, California home owners who haven’t had their homes updated in the last few years with newer water-conscious appliances will soon have to do so by law. The new law mandates that property owners who are looking to remodel any California property built before 1994 are now required to retrofit their structures with toilets that use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush, showerheads with flow rates of no more than 2.5 gallons per minute and other interior water fixtures that use less than 2.2 gallons of water per minute.
The new law will apply to all single-family homes as well as multifamily and commercial property permits when 10 percent or more of the overall square footage is included in the remodel.
The goal for this initiative, among others, is to create water conservation methods that can sustain the dwindling resources that California has seen over the last few years of this terrible drought. By January 1, 2017, all residential properties in California built prior to 1994 will be outfitted with fixtures that are in compliance with these strict conservation measures.
California Imposing Strict Consequences for Home Owners
As the state descends into its third year of one of the worst droughts in its history, state officials have had no choice but to impose stricter measures on home owners. While the state initially implemented the “ask nicely” policy in suggesting home owners cut their water use by as much as 20 percent, that measure has not proven to be effective enough as reservoirs, farmland, lakes and golf courses throughout the state are drying up and turning brown.
In many parts of the state, fines upwards of $500 are being enforced on those who water their lawns or flower beds without the approved conservation equipment or on days that are not permitted as “watering” days.
In extremely drought-stricken areas such as Santa Cruz, many home owners are being forced to attend Water School, a program run by water-conservation specialists devoted to educating residents on important water-saving techniques. The program has been offered as an alternative form of discipline for residents who have incurred hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in local fines.
“Most people just turn on the tap and don’t think about where their water comes from,” Water Education Foundation Deputy Sue McClurg said to the Daily News. “The more people learn about their source of drinking water, the more they learn about its management.”
With the new retrofit law in effect and many measures being taken by California home owners and local officials statewide, the future of California’s water situation seems to be in responsible and capable hands.