FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2018
Contact: Allison Ruff
Sacramento – Today, the California State Assembly put its final stamp of approval on a bill by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) that establishes landmark water efficiency standards for California. Assembly Bill 1668 requires new water use standards for various industries and provides guidance to water agencies to help facilitate drought resiliency across the state. The bill is part of a broader package of reforms with SB 606 (Hertzberg).
“For the first time, we have the state working collaboratively with local governments and urban water suppliers to put in place water efficiency standards that will help every community focus on sustainability,” said Friedman. “The next drought is inevitable, but we can change the way we prepare across California. These bills focus on efficiency first and give water agencies the flexibility to embrace innovation and tailor their approach to meet the unique needs of their community.”
During California’s historic drought, Governor Brown and his Administration developed a plan to encourage Californians to embrace water efficiency and make conservation a way of life. AB 1668 and SB 606 build on the Administration’s plan and move California’s water management and planning into the 21st Century.
“Water efficiency can’t be something we think about only in times of drought — it has to be our way of life in California,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “SB 606 and AB 1668 are important steps toward confronting the state’s water challenges, securing our most precious resource, and creating the more sustainable and resilient future that Californians deserve.”
“California is one step closer to a more resilient and affordable water future for our communities, environment and economy thanks to the water efficiency package,” said Tracy Quinn, Director of California Water Conservation and Efficiency, Natural Resources Defense Council. “These bills help prepare us for a hotter, drier climate by creating a new, more equitable water framework to set customized long-term water use targets and improve water management and drought planning.”
Both AB 1668 and SB 606 were developed with the input from a diverse range of stakeholders, including water agencies, agricultural industries, and environmental advocates. The package focuses on water efficiency with standards and graduated enforcement with guidance from the legislature and the Department of Water Resources.
"These bills will help California and its economy endure future droughts, said Elysa Hammond, Vice President of Environmental Stewardship for Clif Bar & Company. “Careful, efficient use of water is every business and every resident's responsibility."
In addition to the standards put in place by AB 1668 for communities, the bill also updates agricultural water planning to ensure that California farms are better prepared for future droughts. The new agricultural plan requirements will improve the management, collection, and transparency of agricultural water use data, enabling stakeholders to better identify opportunities for water use efficiencies.
“Californians stepped up during the drought to meet emergency drought conservation mandates, but making efficiency a way of life and helping secure our water supply will give the business community the increased confidence it needs to keep investing in our region. That’s why SB 606 and AB 1668 are so important. They are historic in their scope, intentionally flexible in their design, and they offer a roadmap to a more reliable, affordable and secure water supply for California by establishing efficiency targets for local water agencies that take into account each region’s population, land use, climate, and other factors that impact water needs,” said Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President Environment and Energy, Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
“California has to prepare for a climate change future with greater volatility in our water supplies. A critical component of preparing for that future is creating a state-wide ethic supporting water conservation as a way of life,” said Jeff Kightlinger, General Manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “This legislation recognizes and protects the critical importance of water in maintaining California’s economy and way of life.”
“By requiring DWR to both identify small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at particular risk of water shortages and then develop recommendations for countywide drought and water shortage contingency plans, AB 1668 and SB 606 will help California's small water suppliers and rural communities be better prepared for when, not if, the next drought occurs,” said Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director for the Community Water Center.
“These bills acknowledge in law what we all know to be true: the next severe drought could be right around the corner, and we can’t stop conserving water just because we had one wet year,” said Richard P. Santos, Board Chair of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. “Establishing common sense, long-term water conservation goals for urban, industrial, and agricultural water use ensures that everyone throughout the state is doing their part in making water conservation a California way of life.”
“As one of California’s largest urban water agencies and a pioneer of water use efficiency, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) believes that AB 1668 (Friedman) and SB 606 (Hertzberg) are the right approach to helping secure California’s water future. These measures strike the appropriate balance of recognizing local needs and protecting access to water supplies while providing a consistent approach to water use. EBMUD applauds Assemblymember Friedman and Senator Hertzberg for their foresight and determination and is proud to have contributed to this landmark success,” said Lesa McIntosh, President EBMUD Board of Directors.
AB 1668 passed the Assembly on a vote of 45 to 26. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk. Governor Brown has 12 days to sign the bill into law.
Laura Friedman represents the 43rd Assembly District which encompasses the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge, as well as the communities of La Crescenta and Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, and Silver Lake.