State Water Board begins rulemaking process for new urban water conservation regulation

Aug 23, 2023

The State Water Resources Control Board initiated the formal rulemaking process for a new urban water use rule last Friday. The League of California Cities is reviewing the draft regulation and plans to provide comments to the State Water Board.

Known as the Making Conservation a California Way of Life, the regulation would reduce urban water use by over 400,000 acre-feet by 2030. The average California household uses between one-half and one acre-foot of water per year.

The draft regulation is the result of two 2018 laws —  SB 606 (Hertzberg) and  AB 1668 (Friedman). The laws established a new foundation for long-term standards in water conservation and drought planning, including new and expanded authorities and requirements for urban water suppliers, agricultural water suppliers, small water suppliers, and rural communities.  

The regulation outlines water use efficiency requirements for urban retail water suppliers, including urban water use efficiency standards, variances, and an urban water use objective. It also proposes commercial, industrial, and institutional measures, such as standards, guidelines, and methodologies for establishing the objectives and annual reporting requirements.

The State Water Board will present the draft regulation and provide an opportunity for comments during a public hearing on October 4, 2023. Written comments are due October 17, 2023.

Draft regulation text and supporting materials are available on the agency’s website. To provide input on Cal Cities’ public comments or for more information about the rulemaking process, contact Environmental Quality Lobbyist Melissa Sparks-Kranz at or (916) 658-8232.