Press Release

California State Legislature Passes Plan to Establish Water Efficiency Standards

Senator Hertzberg is joined by a coalition of stakeholders to celebrate the passage of SB 606 and AB 1668, partner bills that would make water efficiency a California way of life

May 17, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) today announced that Senate Bill 606 (Hertzberg) and Assembly Bill 1668 (Friedman), which would establish permanent water efficiency goals across the state for the first time, were passed by the California State Legislature.

In the midst of the drought, the Brown administration developed a plan to make water conservation a way of life. SB 606 and AB 1668 build on the administration’s plan to modernize the state’s management of this most precious resource by establishing a 21st century framework for drought resiliency by focusing on water use efficiency, something that has never been done in California.

The bills achieve two major goals: they establish guidelines that emphasize efficient water use, while making a number of clarifications for the various types of water usage throughout the state; and they establish a framework for the implementation and oversight of the efficiency standards.

Senator Hertzberg released the following statement upon the bills’ passage: “The pair of bills we passed today is historic in its ambition. It is the result of hundreds of hours of meetings, compromise and consensus building on all sides. California has a long history of success with efficiency - cars, buildings, and appliances have saved billions of dollars for Californians, greatly advanced our sustainability, and been a model to the world. It’s about time we apply that thinking to water.”

Upon the passage of the bills, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins added, “This plan is a true testament to what the Legislature can accomplish when we take a collaborative approach to solving the tough challenges facing our state. Sound public policy requires broad participation, especially for an issue as critical and complex as the water we rely on. I’m confident that this plan will have a positive impact on the future of our state.”

"We all benefit when we use our resources more efficiently,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), author of AB 1668.  “With these bills, the state will be working collaboratively with local governments to build a more sustainable, resilient future for every community across our great state."

“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.” 

“AB 1668 and SB 606 are important steps forward in making water use efficiency a permanent, sustainable way of life across California,” said Kathy Cole, Executive Legislative Representative for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. “We all still have much work to do, but this legislation gives local agencies flexibility in how to do it.  It leaves to local water managers the decision how best to produce water savings in their communities and where best to make investments in local supplies and storage to manage water supplies in a future of climate change.”

“These water bills build on lessons learned during California’s recent drought and are a step toward a more resilient and secure water future for our state,” said Tracy Quinn, Senior Analyst, Water Program for Natural Resources Defense Council. “NRDC looks forward to working with stakeholders and the state to ensure all Californians are using this precious resource wisely.”

“California is taking an important step forward toward a reliable and affordable water future. Weather whiplash with worsening droughts and flooding will bring increasing uncertainty. This legislation represents our collective commitment to use water wisely, so that California’s communities, businesses and environment can count on a stable water supply,” said Wade Crowfoot, CEO of the Water Foundation.

“While we cannot make it rain, we must take steps to ensure that we’re making the most of limited water supplies,” said Mike Mielke, Sr. Vice President of Environment & Energy for Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “Going forward, we will all have to make more from less.  That’s why SB 606 and AB 1668 are so important.”

“As our climate and weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable, California's business community needs a stable water supply to keep growing and investing in the region,” said Kirsten James, Director of California Policy & Partnerships for Ceres. “This legislation provides smart, thoughtful ways to bring water efficiency into ongoing practices, and sends a reassuring signal to the business community that California is forging a path to a reliable water future.”

The bills now head to Governor Brown’s desk for signature.

Media Contact: Katie Hanzlik
Press Secretary
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
(916) 651-4018

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