Gov. Jerry Brown has just declare a statewide drought emergency. He’s calling for everyone to conserve at least 20%, which is for now a voluntary request.
The Sacramento City Council recently voted to require users to cut back water use by 20 percent to 30 percent and San Francisco Bay Area may be next. The ordinance issues “Spare the Water Alerts” similar to the controversial “Spare the Air Days”; which ban users from burning woods or having backyard bbqs.
According to Sacramento’s new ordinance, regulate the days and times which water can be used outdoors. The ordinance calls to limit showering time, toilet flushes and even dictates the type of hose nozzle that is required. Fines up to $500 are issued along with mandatory attendance of the Water Conversation Education Workshop are a few penalties for violating the water usage ordinance.
To ensure that water is available when they need it, homeowners have responded to the drought by install rainwater catchment systems and/or in ground wells to collect future rainfalls.
As unreal as it may sound, at least 9 states have made it illegal to collect rainwater on your own land. Utah, Oregon, Colorado and a number of other states have passed rainwater laws that either limit or all out ban the collection of rainwater. An Oregon man was even arrested a sentenced to 30 days in jail for collecting rainwater on his own property. Check out the video below that discusses the problem.
California also made it illegal to collect rainwater until recently. According to the Rainwater Capture Act of 2012 signed by Governor Brown, Californians may now legally capture and use rainwater harvested from rooftops. The Act exempts the capture and use of rainwater from rooftops from the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) permitting authority over appropriations of water. This development affords residential users and private and public entities with a new source of on-site water supply, which should reduce reliance on potable water for landscaping needs and provide a recharge benefit to underlying groundwater aquifers.
Residents that install homemade rainwater collection systems like the one pictured below will ultimately save on their water and make it easier to comply with water limitations. The system which is simple to install and cheap to complete, can provide gardeners and landscapers will more watering options. Check out this cool video on how to create a water catchment system in 30 minutes for only $10!