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© Krantz News Service, April 8, 2015

California is known for setting nationwide trends. Will that be the case in the state government's approach to serious drought conditions in the Golden State?

Gov. Jerry Brown recently issued an executive order calling for nine key government agencies to act in the face of the unprecedented water shortage.

Most of California faces "severe," "extreme" or "exceptional" drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a componsite index used by policymakers, but the state is not alone in the water shortfall. In more than half of the nation conditions are "abnormally dry" or worse.

Brown issued Executive Order B-29-15 on April 1. The order can be seen here. And this is a summary of the order supplied by the Governor's office.

The governor 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." Accordingly, the Water Board now prohibits:

-- Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways

-- Runoff when irrigating with potable water

-- Using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars

-- Using potable water in decorative water features that do not recirculate the water

-- Using outdoor irrigation during and 48 hours following measurable precipitation

The Water Board will continue to release details on the restrictions and seek public comment on the water-saving measures.

Brown's executive order also sets out the following agenda:

. . . "Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments;

. . . "Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models;

. . . "Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and

. . . "Prohibit news 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."

Meanwhile, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has scheduled a series of listening sessions from April 28 through May 1, 2015 regarding the development of Emergency Regulations on Groundwater Basin Boundary Revisions.

In addition to DWR and the Water Board, the Executive Order calls for action by the California Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Water Resources, the California Energy Commission, the Office of Emergency Services, the Department of House and Community Development, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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