As you may or may not know the State of California has recently adopted an emergency regulation that took effect on August 1, 2014, and is intended to cause a reduction in urban water usage during the current drought. The operative language of the regulation is included at the end of this blog, but here’s what you need to know (in layman’s terms) as a resident in a homeowners association.
- Avoid any runoff when watering your lawn or other outside landscape areas.
- Do not hand-wash your car or hose off your driveway or sidewalk unless you’re using a hose with a shut-off nozzle.
- Do not use a water fountain or other decorative water feature unless it’s hooked up to a recirculating system.
- Failure to follow the above instructions will mean a fine up to $500 each time the violation occurs.
Tips to Conserve Water
It’s important to follow the new regulations, but it’s also a good idea to conserve water whether or not we’re in a drought season. Here are some things you can do around your home in the association:
- Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine unless you have full loads
- Turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth
- Take shorter showers
- Fix any leaky faucets
- On average, 10 gallons per day of your water footprint (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut your footprint is by repairing leaky faucets and toilets. (National Geographic)
Sec. 864 Prohibited Activities in Promotion of Water Conservation
(a) To promote water conservation, each of the following actions is prohibited, except where necessary to address an immediate health and safety need or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a state or federal agency:
(1) The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures;
(2) The use of a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use;
(3) The application of potable water to driveways and sidewalks; and
(4) The use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system.
(b) The taking of any action prohibited in subdivision (a) of this section, in addition to any other applicable civil or criminal penalties, is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each day in which the violation occurs.
[Source: State Water Resources Control Board]
Implementation of the enforcement provisions of the regulations will probably depend on how well an individual homeowners association responds. It would be prudent for all associations using potable water to comply with the prohibitions.
The HOA board should make a concerned effort to inform homeowners about the regulation, whether by a letter or town hall meeting. Do not be a water waster, be a water saver.