Reducing urban water use per person helps meet the State's goal of reducing reliance on Delta water supplies.

The Measure

Urban water suppliers that are within the Delta watershed, or those relying on water from the Delta watershed achieve their individual water efficiency targets established in the California Water Conservation Act of 2009 (SB X7-7) or its successor legislation or regulatory targets.

  • Expectations

    To achieve water efficiency goals, suppliers meet targets for per capita water use in their supply area. 

  • Performance Metrics

    • Gallons per capita per day of water use.  This will be evaluated at least every five years as Urban Water Management Plans (UWMPs) are updated.
    • Percentage change in urban per capita water use from SB X7-7 baseline years.  This will be evaluated at least every five years as UWMPs are updated.

Urban Water Use Efficiency

The graph shows the urban water use in gallons per capita per day (GPCD); that is, the amount of water in gallons that the average person in a region uses every day.  All water suppliers serving more than 20,000 people in the chosen hydrologic region that an urban water management plan (UWMP) are counted. Toggle between the hydrologic regions to display regional targets set and the reported regional urban water use.

Click a hydrologic region to see if they're meeting their targets.

A note about the data: The City of Vernon was excluded from data for the South Coast Region data because their demographic characteristics make GPCD an unreliable metric for Vernon's water use efficiency. To learn more read Vernon's 2015 UWMP.

The state requires urban water agencies serving more than 20,000 people to comply with water efficiency goals established in the California Water Conservation Act of 2009 (SB X7-7). To achieve water efficiency goals, suppliers must meet targets for per capita water use in their supply area. Through water efficiency measures, suppliers can become more resilient and self-reliant. More efficient urban water use is expected to support a reliable water supply for Californians. Efficient use of urban water supply supports the Delta Reform Act to reduce reliance on Delta water by reducing individual demand for water and improving regional self-reliance.

Urban Water Management Plans (UWMPs) are prepared by urban water suppliers every five years to support long-term water resource management. Any urban water supplier in California that provides water to more than 3,000 water connections or provides more than 3,000 acre-feet of water must prepare a UWMP. The goal of the plan is to ensure that California water supply is not vulnerable due to a lack of long-term resource planning. UWMPs are significant efforts that include planning for supply, demand, and water system improvements. For example, UWMPs require suppliers to quantify existing water supply and demand, project future demand and supply, and document reduced reliance on Delta water.

UWMPs are supported by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) who assists water suppliers through workshops and trainings, and the UWMP guidebook. DWR reviews individual UWMPs for completeness to ensure water suppliers have addressed legislative requirements. DWR compiles UWMP data and provides it to the public.

California Water Conservation Act of 2009 (SB X7-7) sets a target of reducing urban water consumption in California by 20% by the year 2020. The law was passed during a three-year drought period that showed the need to make water management more efficient. In addition to setting a target for urban water use, the legislation included measures that would support efficiency such as encouraging the quantification of agricultural water efficiency and adding requirements to Urban Water Management Plans (UWMPs). Among those new requirements for UWMPs is the calculation of per capita water use by suppliers.

Background

In May 2016, during the drought, then Governor Jerry Brown signed executive order B-37-16 which is colloquially referred to as Making Water Conservation a Way of Life for California. This executive order built upon the plan outlined in the California Water Action Plan which included a series of 10 steps for making water conservation a way of life in California.  The order had four goals:

  1. Improve conservation and reporting
  2. Eliminate water waste
  3. Improve drought resilience
  4. Promote agricultural water efficiency

In 2018, the legislator passed SB 606/AB 1668 which refined and codified many of the approaches laid out in B-37-16 and the California Water Action Plan. The legislation required measures related to each of the 4 goals for “Making Water Conservation a Way of Life for California.” Go to the glossary page to learn more.

Reporting on Residential Water Use

In 2014, then California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency that lasted until 2017. Under that emergency declaration, most urban water suppliers in the state were required to submit monthly water use reports. former Governor Brown's Executive Orders B-37-16 and B-40-17 directed the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) to continue requiring urban water suppliers to report on water use. Every month, water suppliers report to the SWRCB residential water use per capita and conservation. Although it varies significantly between water suppliers, in California roughly two-thirds of urban water use is residential with commercial and industrial uses accounting for the remaining water use. The SWRCB generates reports on residential water use and conservation and releases this residential water use data monthly in their Water Conservation and Production Reports. To learn more about the SWRCB’s conservation program visit their Conservation Portal.

Each chapter of the Delta plan includes strategies to achieve the goals of the plan. These strategies are general guidance on achieving the objective laid out in the plan and in the Delta Reform Act of 2009. Associated with these strategies are recommendations. The recommendations describe more specific and implementable actions to support the achievement of Delta Plan strategies. Strategies and recommendations may also have associated performance measures. Delta Plan performance measures track progress in achieving desired outcomes for the Delta Plan. Below are the strategies and recommendations associated with this performance measure. 

Delta Plan Strategy
  • Increase water conservation and expand local and regional supplies

Delta Plan Recommendations
  • Implement Water Efficiency and Water Management Planning Laws
  • Require State Water Project Contractors to Implement Water Efficiency and Water Management Laws
  • Ensure Compliance with Reasonable and Beneficial Use
  • Expand Water Supply Reliability
  • Develop Water Supply Reliability Guidelines
  • Revise State Grant and Loan Priorities
  • Demonstrate State Leadership
Metric
  • Gallons per capita per day of urban water use. This will be evaluated at least every five years as Urban Water Management Plans (UWMP) are updated.
  • Percentage change in urban per capita water use from SB X7-7 baseline years. This will be evaluated at least every five years as UWMPs are updated.
Baseline
  • SB X7-7 baselines established in 2010/2015 UWMPs.
Target
  • 2015 targets established in 2010/2015 UWMPs. Interim targets are set by individual suppliers, using one of four methods identified in SB X7-7, and are to be achieved by December 31, 2015, and reported in subsequent UWMPs.
  • 2020 targets established in 2010/2015 UWMPs. Targets are set by individual suppliers, using one of four methods identified in SB X7-7, and are to be achieved by December 31, 2020, and reported in subsequent UWMPs.
Methods:

Urban Water Management Plans (UWMPs) report actual gallons per capita day (GPCD) for water users as well as targets.  We calculated weighted averages of actual and target GPCD by population for each hydraulic region and statewide.  

Data Source:

2010 UWMP data
2015 UWMP data

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