For the first time in state history, Governor Jerry Brown has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent. To that end the order looks to conservation, increased enforcement, streamlined government response, and investment in new technologies.

In his executive order, April 1, the governor called, in addition, for the replacement of 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments; the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models; requiring campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and prohibiting new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.

The governor’s order also calls on local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing, recognized as an effective way to realize water reductions and discourage water waste.