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New Year, New Rules for Water Conservation in California

November 25, 2016

11-25-16_image1Seven years ago, the California Legislature passed water conservation measures to reduce water use in homes and businesses. This was done in response to the ongoing drought we continue to experience. Standards for plumbing fixtures were established with water conservation in mind. To allow for homeowners to update their showers, faucets and toilets, SB-407 instated a schedule of compliance. Guess what? Time’s up. Well, almost up. January 1, 2017 marks the compliance deadline to have water-saving, low flow plumbing in your home.

With the drought at the forefront of our news much of the time, it is most likely that you have updated your fixtures, as most residents are doing what they can to conserve water. This is reflected in the significant reductions of water usage we have seen in communities across the state. But what if you are still in the process of updating your plumbing, or have just not gotten around to it? You can be assured there are no “Water Police” who will be coming to the door, but there are potential fines in your future.

While there isn’t a state mandated fine imposed on properties without low-flow plumbing fixtures, local governments and water agencies can impose non-compliance fines. Even if you live in an area where no fines are levied, if you are planning to sell your home, outdated plumbing fixtures could cost you.

Beginning January 1, 2017, all property sellers must also disclose their state of compliance with the water conservation law. If your home is not updated, as the seller, it is most likely you will need to get the updates done or cover the costs for the buyer to handle it. With the new disclosure law, sellers who are not compliant also run a higher risk of losing an offer.

11-25-16_image2In addition to the water conservation law for updating plumbing, there are permanent bans of some types of water usage, which will take effect  January 1, 2017. Executive Order B-37-16 was released in May of this year, making Water Conservation a permanent fixture in our lives. Many of the measures taken already to reduce water use are being expanded and made permanent. The State Water Board has also permanently banned the following practices which waste water:

  • Using hoses to clean sidewalks, driveways or any other exterior hardscaped surface
  • Washing vehicles without the use of a hose with a shut-off nozzle
  • Operating fountains or other decorative water features without re-circulating water
  • Watering yards less than 48 hours after measurable rain, or allowing water to run off while watering lawns
  • Irrigating any public median decorative turf

California is serious about water conservation; it’s important for the environment, communities and people everywhere. When you are ready to sell your home, you want a Realtor® who knows the latest regulations, and how they can affect you. My team and I are ready to help you through the entire process. Our goal is to make your experience both easy and pleasurable. Contact us today at (925) 634-7820, or by email at

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