Newsom orders stricter water restrictions amid ongoing drought

As California enters its third year of severe drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom orders water agencies to tighten water conservation rules—the most pervasive, statewide water restriction order since California’s last severe drought in 2016.

Newsom’s new restrictions require the state’s approximately 420 largest water providers, including cities, water districts and private water companies, to put in place “level 2” of their water shortage contingency plans. Water providers are required to draft drought plans every five years with six different levels of restrictions depending on the severity of each drought—level 6 being the strictest.  

San Jose Water Company is already at level 3, which restricts customers to watering their lawns a maximum of twice a week and charges higher rates for customers who use the most water.

Statewide, prior to Gov. Newsom’s order, just 59% of California water agencies were at level 2 of water shortage contingency plans.

These new regulations come after Gov. Newsom asked Californians to voluntary reduce water use 15 percent from 2020 levels and residents cut usage by just 6.4 percent.

According to the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), 93.7% of California is currently experiencing severe drought. Within Santa Clara County, 100% of people are affected by drought and the entirety of the county is considered to be in severe drought.

To reduce personal water usage, the City of Santa Clara has a list of easy water conservation tips so individuals can help do their part to end California’s drought. Learn more here.