Following an historic executive order, in which California Governor Jerry Brown imposed the first-ever statewide water restriction mandate, some cities are now taking matters in their own hands.
The governor said the state must cut its urban water use by 25 percent.
In the past few weeks, cities such as Santa Barbara, Milpitas and other cities have been considering restrictions.
“City councils are now getting into the act and deciding to direct their building departments not to issue permits,” said John Norwood, president and chief lobbyist for the California Pool and Spa Association.
While those were still in the consideration phase, one city has made an already highly publicized decision: This week, the Beverly Hills City Council agreed to a water-conservation plan that, in part, would ban the draining and refilling of pools. The resolution will be officially passed at a May 5 meeting, at which point the measures goes into effect immediately.
“We are in a crisis situation with the drought and Beverly Hills is determined to meet the new water conservation goals,” said Mayor Julian Gold in a press release.
While some press accounts said the filling of new pools would be banned, that is not part of the city council's resolution. However, officials are exploring that possibility, said Beverly Hills spokesperson Therese Kosterman.
CPSA recently sent out a letter to cities throughout the Golden State to explain why targeting pools is not effective. “Our information shows that once a pool’s filled, we’re competitive with California friendly or drought-resistant landscaping,” Norwood said. “We’re not water wasters, we don’t use very much water and we have a significant economic impact.”
The organization seeks to convince cities to postpone restricting water for pools and spas until droughts reach a stage where no water can be used outdoors.
CPSA and a handful of other stakeholders met with Governor Brown April 16 to discuss the drought. According to CPSA, “A consensus was reached that water use must be slowed without discriminating against individual industries that would curtail recovery from the Great Recession.”
The organization went on to say, “The meeting with the governor and his staff provided a unique opportunity to demonstrate the economic implications that exist as a result of cities and districts that could jeopardize a $5 billion industry from the economy.”
A few cities with the lowest water levels, such as Montecito, near Santa Barbara, have had restrictions in place for a while.
To help CPSA continue its advocacy efforts, it has begun a new campaign with the goal of generating $100,000 in new memberships, then another $100,000 to supplement the organization’s drought fund. So far, the company is about one-third the way there.