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CPUC Orders Water Companies to Notify Customers of Drought Restrictions

Docket #: Res W-5034

Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, news@cpuc.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9, 2015 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today ordered the water companies under its jurisdiction to notify customers of emergency regulations that were put into place by the State Water Resources Control Board on March 17, 2015, in order to preserve sufficient potable water and ensure safe drinking water for Californians. In a drought as severe as California is experiencing, prohibitions on the use of potable water for external irrigation is a key step in water conservation.

On April 1, 2015, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order mandating a 25 percent reduction in water use for all urban water users. The CPUC will work in coordination with the Water Board to direct the investor-owned water companies to comply with the new restrictions and rate structures in a parallel manner as adopted by the Water Board.  The CPUC is going forward today with implementing the March 17, 2015, Water Board Emergency Regulation in the meantime and will follow suit on the Executive Order restrictions when the Water Board acts to implement them. 

Said Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval, “This Resolution we approved today asks Californians to conserve water now!  We must all step up our conservation efforts.  We support items and measures to mitigate the impacts of the severe drought.  Bold ideas to address the drought are explicitly requested.”

As part of the required customer notification, water utilities must repeat the prohibitions adopted in 2014 and inform their customers of the 2015 restrictions. Each investor-owned water company must:

  • Inform their customers of their implementation plan for outdoor irrigation restrictions. Specifically, if a water company does not already have a limit on the number of days that outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water is allowed, the company must limit such irrigation to no more than two days per week. Smaller water companies must follow this minimum standard or implement other mandatory conservation measures intended to achieve a 20 percent reduction in water consumption and inform customers of the mandatory requirements.
  • Inform customers that they are prohibited from irrigating turf or ornamental landscapes during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation.
  • Notify customers when the water company is aware of leaks that are within the customer’s control.
  • Inform commercial businesses that restaurant and other food service providers can only serve water to customers on request and that hotel/motel operators must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display notice of this option.

Violation of these prohibited actions is punishable by a fine of up to $500 for each day in which the violation occurs.

Water companies must notify customers by publication via newspaper or other methods of general circulation such as social media, email, text message, or bill inserts.

Visit www.SaveOurWater.com to find out how everyone can do their part, and visit www.drought.ca.gov to learn more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.

The Resolution voted on is available at: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M150/K866/150866550.pdf.

For more information about the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

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