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Water Code - WAT


  ( Heading of Division 6 amended by Stats. 1957, Ch. 1932. )


  ( Part 2.55 added by Stats. 2009, 7th Ex. Sess., Ch. 4, Sec. 1. )

CHAPTER 1. General Declarations and Policy [10608 - 10608.8]
  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 2009, 7th Ex. Sess., Ch. 4, Sec. 1. )


The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Water is a public resource that the California Constitution protects against waste and unreasonable use.

(b) Growing population, climate change, and the need to protect and grow California’s economy while protecting and restoring our fish and wildlife habitats make it essential that the state manage its water resources as efficiently as possible.

(c) Diverse regional water supply portfolios will increase water supply reliability and reduce dependence on the Delta.

(d) Reduced water use through conservation provides significant energy and environmental benefits, and can help protect water quality, improve streamflows, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(e) The success of state and local water conservation programs to increase efficiency of water use is best determined on the basis of measurable outcomes related to water use or efficiency.

(f) Improvements in technology and management practices offer the potential for increasing water efficiency in California over time, providing an essential water management tool to meet the need for water for urban, agricultural, and environmental uses.

(g) The Governor has called for a 20 percent per capita reduction in urban water use statewide by 2020.

(h) The factors used to formulate water use efficiency targets can vary significantly from location to location based on factors including weather, patterns of urban and suburban development, and past efforts to enhance water use efficiency.

(i) Per capita water use is a valid measure of a water provider’s efforts to reduce urban water use within its service area. However, per capita water use is less useful for measuring relative water use efficiency between different water providers. Differences in weather, historical patterns of urban and suburban development, and density of housing in a particular location need to be considered when assessing per capita water use as a measure of efficiency.

(Added by Stats. 2009, 7th Ex. Sess., Ch. 4, Sec. 1. (SB 7 7x) Effective February 3, 2010.)


It is the intent of the Legislature, by the enactment of this part, to do all of the following:

(a) Require all water suppliers to increase the efficiency of use of this essential resource.

(b) Establish a framework to meet the state targets for urban water conservation identified in this part and called for by the Governor.

(c) Measure increased efficiency of urban water use on a per capita basis.

(d) Establish a method or methods for urban retail water suppliers to determine targets for achieving increased water use efficiency by the year 2020, in accordance with the Governor’s goal of a 20-percent reduction.

(e) Establish consistent water use efficiency planning and implementation standards for urban water suppliers and agricultural water suppliers.

(f) Promote urban water conservation standards that are consistent with the California Urban Water Conservation Council’s adopted best management practices and the requirements for demand management in Section 10631.

(g) Establish standards that recognize and provide credit to water suppliers that made substantial capital investments in urban water conservation since the drought of the early 1990s.

(h) Recognize and account for the investment of urban retail water suppliers in providing recycled water for beneficial uses.

(i) Require implementation of specified efficient water management practices for agricultural water suppliers.

(j) Support the economic productivity of California’s agricultural, commercial, and industrial sectors.

(k) Advance regional water resources management.

(Added by Stats. 2009, 7th Ex. Sess., Ch. 4, Sec. 1. (SB 7 7x) Effective February 3, 2010.)


(a) (1) Water use efficiency measures adopted and implemented pursuant to this part or Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 10800) are water conservation measures subject to the protections provided under Section 1011.

(2) Because an urban agency is not required to meet its urban water use target until 2020 pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 10608.24, an urban retail water supplier’s failure to meet those targets shall not establish a violation of law for purposes of any state administrative or judicial proceeding prior to January 1, 2021. Nothing in this paragraph limits the use of data reported to the department or the board in litigation or an administrative proceeding. This paragraph shall become inoperative on January 1, 2021.

(3) To the extent feasible, the department and the board shall provide for the use of water conservation reports required under this part to meet the requirements of Section 1011 for water conservation reporting.

(b) This part does not limit or otherwise affect the application of Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340), Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 11370), Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 11400), and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(c) This part does not require a reduction in the total water used in the agricultural or urban sectors, because other factors, including, but not limited to, changes in agricultural economics or population growth may have greater effects on water use. This part does not limit the economic productivity of California’s agricultural, commercial, or industrial sectors.

(d) The requirements of this part do not apply to an agricultural water supplier that is a party to the Quantification Settlement Agreement, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1 of Chapter 617 of the Statutes of 2002, during the period within which the Quantification Settlement Agreement remains in effect. After the expiration of the Quantification Settlement Agreement, to the extent conservation water projects implemented as part of the Quantification Settlement Agreement remain in effect, the conserved water created as part of those projects shall be credited against the obligations of the agricultural water supplier pursuant to this part.

(Added by Stats. 2009, 7th Ex. Sess., Ch. 4, Sec. 1. (SB 7 7x) Effective February 3, 2010.)

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