Berry: AB 1668 and SB 606: Far From Just Water Conservation Bills

Can you get by on 55 gallons of water per day—or in ten years, on 50 gallons a day?  We already have Guv Brown and Guv Newsom restricting water to farms, forcing higher food prices and farms to turn from growing crops to growing solar panel farms.  We are buying more of our fruits and vegetables from other countries—because it is cheaper and more available than homegrown crops.

“As the previous article noted, both bills were signed into law by Jerry Brown June 2018, and require that the State Water Resources Control Board in coordination with the Department of Water Resources develop guidelines to measure various types of water usage (indoor, outdoor, agricultural, etc.), start presenting those guidelines to legislators by January 1, 2020, and ensure implementation of mandatory and permanent water restrictions by June 2022.  

The guidelines must include restricting residential indoor water use to 55 gallons per capita per day — a number that will drop to 50 gallons by 2030.

By way of comparison, the average U.S. resident consumes 80 – 100 gallons of indoor water per day.  In 2016 Californians used an estimated average of 85 gallons per person per day.

Also by way of comparison, California is not the only state that suffers from droughts.  Arizona, Nevada Texas and Utah are among states with similar challenges.  Yet, California chose to implement mandatory and permanent restrictions.   

Implementation of restrictions will be accomplished by imposing substantial fines on water districts if their plans fail to achieve the bills’ objectives.  As an aside, we should ask where money for fines would come from, except from rate payers.

In two years we will see the fines.  My bet is that government will also cut off water usage as it goes beyond the allowed.  This is how totalitarians operate—they control every aspect of our lives, including the use of water.

AB 1668 and SB 606: Far From Just Water Conservation Bills

Marcy Berry, Exclusive to the California Political News and Views,  1/10/20  

There is a meme going around that reminds us that we can vote our way into socialism but we will have a heck of a time getting out.  Obviously, a lot of California voters are not minding that meme.  Voters are allowing the state to take control over their lives one political election at the time, either by voting in favor of detrimental legislation or by electing candidates that prefer government control over rational solutions.

A takeover briefly in the news and poorly understood are Assembly Bill 1668 and its companion Senate Bill 606.  These two bills are follow ups to Senate Bill X7-7, The Water Conservation Act of 2009, which required that water districts increase their water use efficiency and find ways to reduce the state’s residential per capita water use by 20%. 

Thank you to Steve Frank’s California Political News & Views for recently posting an article summarizing AB 1668 and SB 606.  Perhaps, though, a little additional discussion might be in order, since these bills are not simply sensible solutions to California’s droughts.  They are designed to add water to the growing list of crises that require permanent control. 

 As the previous article noted, both bills were signed into law by Jerry Brown June 2018, and require that the State Water Resources Control Board in coordination with the Department of Water Resources develop guidelines to measure various types of water usage (indoor, outdoor, agricultural, etc.), start presenting those guidelines to legislators by January 1, 2020, and ensure implementation of mandatory and permanent water restrictions by June 2022.  

The guidelines must include restricting residential indoor water use to 55 gallons per capita per day — a number that will drop to 50 gallons by 2030.

By way of comparison, the average U.S. resident consumes 80 – 100 gallons of indoor water per day.  In 2016 Californians used an estimated average of 85 gallons per person per day.

Also by way of comparison, California is not the only state that suffers from droughts.  Arizona, Nevada Texas and Utah are among states with similar challenges.  Yet, California chose to implement mandatory and permanent restrictions.   

Implementation of restrictions will be accomplished by imposing substantial fines on water districts if their plans fail to achieve the bills’ objectives.  As an aside, we should ask where money for fines would come from, except from rate payers.

In other words, we are not talking about conservation during times of drought. We are talking about severe water restrictions year round, even if it has been pouring for weeks.  We are also talking about significant penalties if restrictions are not met, even in areas such as the North Coast where precipitation is greater than in many parts of the state.

This is the type of command and control California legislators have been imposing in the name of a myriad of “crises.”  A crisis is declared, a controlling legislation is enacted to “solve” the crisis, and then things just keep ratcheting up.  We are now in the midst of a climate change crisis, a housing crisis, a homeless crisis, a wildfire crisis, and a water crisis.

Before California residents start tearing up their lawns or planning on washing their clothes less often, perhaps they might confront their legislators with some questions in the context of some realities.  Legislators can comfortably ignore the few, but might worry a bit if they suspect a groundswell of discontent. 

The realities are that California has experienced longer periods of drought than other states, and such a challenge does necessitate more aggressive water management than practiced in Nevada or Texas.  But, aggressive water management need not focus on onerous restrictions.  It should focus on reasonable avoidance of waste (no need to spend 8 gallons of water washing the family dog), and on efficient water infrastructure. 

The questions are whether the state is allocating its water resources in a rational manner, and whether it is acting free from the serious influence of special interests.

For example, it is true that desalination plants, dams and reservoirs are expensive, and environmentalists don’t like them.  But how expensive are the ever growing bureaucracies, the coddling of legions of government workers, the costs associated with sanctuary for the needy both foreign and domestic?  Also, how environmentally degrading are the piles of garbage and human detritus in our streets? 

It is also true that we all need to respect all creatures great and small, but we also need to make difficult decisions when it comes to balancing the needs of fish and the needs of people – at present, the fish are winning.  The saga of the Sites Reservoir serves as illustration.

The Sites Reservoir is part of a large water project in the Sacramento Valley, funded by Proposition 1 water bonds approved by voters in 2014.  Plans are to pump overflow water from the Sacramento River and store it in the artificial lake formed by the reservoir in Colusa.  In October 2018, $816 million of Proposition 1 money was allocated to the Sites Reservoir.  Farmers, ranchers, and other residents of the region were initially very supportive of the project, until environmentalists stood up for the fish, bald eagles, and oak trees. The Fish & Wildlife Department recommended less water flow for the sake of salmon, sending the reservoir plans back to the drawing board.

Some more rationally-minded environmentalists favor storing water in aquifers.  Natural recharging of aquifers has not produced enough stored water.  Therefore, water must be moved via canals and other infrastructure from wet areas to dry aquifers.  Counties that depend on groundwater would love to upgrade their decades old water infrastructure, but not much is happening in that front either.

The Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan think tank, published back in April 2019 a laundry list of what California really needs to provide its residents with a good supply of water.  Onerous restrictions are definitely not needed.  What is needed is a “more robust, better-integrated water grid,” which will “require investments to modernize not only the infrastructure, but also the way the system is managed.”

Legislators need to stop trying to control their constituents with talk of all manner of crises, and start allocating tax money a lot more intelligently.  Also constituents need to become less willing to be controlled.

The further down the road to serfdom Californians are willing to travel, the more difficult it becomes for them to ever find exists.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Are we going to get “water credits” from the state if we don’t use the alloted 55 gallons per person per day? Also, explain to me how the “Hollywood Elites” or the politicians in Sacramento are going to survive on 55 gallons a day? Or are they exempt?

  2. Let me get this straight.

    The State of Calif. idiots like Newsom, Brown, Harris, Weiner, and others want “Stack’M & Pack’M” urban development. Go up 4-5 stories or more, and encourage more and more illegals, and welfare types, isn’t that great?

    They want to pave over single family developments that leave the land open to rain that recharges ground water. They want to produce heat sinks of concrete, and then complain about global warming.

    They don’t want De-sal plants but will not allow increasing capacity of existing dams.

    It was expalined the “new generatios” don’t want yards and congenial living and will be happy to live in Skinner Box apartments. Here is the answer to that. I have over 20 years listened to kids of people who live in apartments and without exception they complain that they want to live in a house with yards. I have a great little friend who is growing up. He has asked me why I get to live in a house and he doesn’t.

    Go ahead Democrats increase the cost of living, increase the cost of transportation, and increase the “Stack’M & Pack’M” living and watch social discontent.

    • John Steele says

      Will the crazies continue to vote deomcrat and will the nearly non-existant
      CA- GOP take full advantage of this gift… NO, they won’t.

  3. John Steele says

    Fly over LA and see the massive swimming pools and the lawn sprinklers running full blast for hours on beautiful green lawns and then ask how they are going keep those pools filled and the lawns uber green and beautiful. They won’t. it will look like drought conditions..all year .. every year.

  4. Diane Falge says

    Every single water problem is solved or improved by building additional water storage. Sending adequate surface water to farmers will solve subsidence – prior to the environmental mandates that began in 1992, the water tables were RISING! Our water problem is not farmers fault, but environmental – they took a piece of the water “pie” while refusing to add more stored water, meanwhile our population doubles and…. here we are. Taxpayers have approved over $30 billion in water bonds and the idiots running the asylum refuse to build a reservoir at 1/4 the cost of a desalination plant. They study and regulate and add layers of bureaucracy, but do effectively nothing but line their own pockets.

    If you want real facts, check out The CA Water for Food and People Movement on Facebook

  5. Excellent article. The question is, when is the public going to wake up and stop the socialist created disasters? The future of California is not looking good otherwise!!!

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