California drought forces drastic water restrictions

April 10, 2015 | Environment
California: water is a precious resource | Photo: William Warby/Creative Commons

The California Governor Jerry Brown has backed up standards for water appliances which will save more than 10 billion gallons of water in the first year.

The state's four-year drought has forced drastic decisions. Over time, the water savings is estimated to reach 105 billion gallons per year, i.e., savings of more than three times the annual amount of water used by the City of San Francisco.

"People should realize we are in a new era. The idea of your nice little green lawn getting watered every day, those days are past," underlined Governor Jerry Brown.

California consumes about 443 billion gallons of water a year for flushing toilets and urinals and running faucets. Reducing water consumption by establishing minimum efficiency standards for these appliances is a key component of California's overall water and energy use reduction strategies.

As of January 2014, in California there were more than 45 million faucets, 30 million toilets, and 1 million urinals.

"In the face of California's current drought, we must use water as efficiently as possible and updating minimum standards for toilets, urinals and faucets is a step in that direction," adds Andrew McAllister, the Energy Commission's lead on energy efficiency.

The new guidelines will have impact on the following areas:

1. Toilets and urinals, except those designed for prisons or mental health facilities. Toilets shall not consume more than 1.28 gallons per flush and shall have a waste extraction score of no fewer than 350 grams. Urinals shall not consume more than 0.125 gallons per flush. (These facilities have specially-designed toilets and urinals to address security and health issues.)

2. Residential lavatory faucets shall not exceed 1.2 gallons per minute flow rate.

3. Kitchen faucets shall not exceed 1.8 gallons per minute flow rate and may have capability to increase to 2.2 gallons per minute momentarily for filling pots and pans.

4. Public lavatory faucets shall not exceed 0.5 gallon per minute flow rate.

Discover a few things you didn't know about the water.

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