Frequently Asked Questions

I have been getting many questions and here are the most common:


How do I know what my current water ration is?
To date the range is 4% to 36%.  Contact your water company as they will be setting the amount based on your local conditions.

What will happen if I use more than my ration?
Again, contact your local water company.  The rules are still being finalized.

How will I know how much water I am using during the month?
Find out how much you have been using in the past by checking your previous bills.  If you don’t have them on hand, you may be able to download them from your water supplier’s website, or else call your local agency to order copies.  Some cities are installing regulators with measurement tools that can send your usage report to your smart phone; you may be able to buy and install one if you think it is worth the investment.  My local water company puts it on the bill so you can see what you use each month.  Be careful, though–it’s possible that water usage will be measured cumulatively instead of monthly, so you don’t want to get down to the last month and find out you have to turn off your water to avoid a big penalty.

Are my water rates going to go up?
The short answer in my opinion is yes.  But by how much no one seems sure yet.

Potable water – what does that mean?
Of high enough quality to drink – drinking water.

I thought California farmers use most of the water, so why are homeowners being punished?
The short answer is yes, they do use most of the water in California.  But because we need food to live, and the ag industry has a strong lobby, farmers appear to have more power than homeowners.  Money + politics = water…California agriculture is a $50 billion-a-year business.  California needs the business.  If the state’s farm industry declines precipitously and there’s nothing to replace its revenue, California could be broke before we know it.

Why doesn’t my local water company offer me more information about the drought?
Your local water company is in business to sell water, and make money on that water, to maintain the water infrastructure.  Each agency has employees, utility costs, pipe repairs, reservoirs, sewers, etc… If you cut their revenue by 36%, they would be broke.  Imagine a typical two-income family, when suddenly Dad loses his job.  There will be big changes if Dad doesn’t find something soon.  So, some agencies are downplaying the situation, even in the face of the governor’s recent mandate.

Where does my water come from?
Your local water company will provide you with the details of your local source.  Most of mine comes from the Colorado River.  I am way down the chain and only hope others upstream don’t take ownership.  We may see lots of legal battles in the near future.

Do I have to get rid of my grass?
Green lawns are a hot topic and seem to be something the state would like to see disappear so I would not be surprised if we hear about more restrictions or recommendations.  Even if you use recycled water to keep your lawn green it may not make you very popular in the neighborhood.  Even Oprah Winfrey is on the hot seat to get rid of her grass!

How much can I get paid to get rid of my grass?
The amount varies but the incentives have been increasing.  I have not seen the new incentives yet in my area but they will be released soon.  Do not pull up your grass until you’ve talked to your local water agency about incentives as rules vary.

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