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Business

David Kim: Despite Recent Rains, Challenges of Water Conservation Remain

It’s easy to forget that with all the new rain, California has been in a drought for the last five years.

Although we have experienced some relief we must not forget the challenge of conservation which lays ahead.

As a reminder, beginning January 2017, California Civil Code 1101.4 requires that all homes built on or before Jan. 1, 1994, must be equipped with water-conserving plumbing fixtures (toilets not more than 1.6 gallons per flush, showers not more than 2.5 GPM, and interior faucets not more than 2.2 GPM). 

The bill would require, that a seller or transferor of single-family residential real property, multifamily residential real property, or commercial real property disclose to a purchaser or transferee, in writing, specified requirements for replacing plumbing fixtures, and whether the real property includes non-compliant plumbing.

The bill also requires a seller of certain residential real property to make a specified disclosure in this regard.

Locally, on Dec. 6, the Santa Barbara City Council adopted a regulation banning lawn watering with limited exceptions as we go into the sixth year of drought.

This regulation will take effect Jan. 1, 2017, and is intended to increase conservation given projected water shortages that are to occur during peak demand months in summer 2017.
 
During summer months, there is a higher water demand due to landscape irrigation, and the city anticipates that with current limited water supplies, it will be unable to meet water demands during these highest water use periods.

In the last year, customers have reduced water use by 35 percent, and with the lawn watering ban, customers can extend that achievement to 40 percent, which will be enough to overcome projected peak water shortages.
 
Beginning the lawn watering ban in January allows the city to begin saving additional water now, while also educating customers about the regulation and providing information about landscape care before the heat of spring and summer.
 
Council's action is specific to turf grass watering, also referred to as lawn watering, which has limited exceptions. The focus on lawns allows for critical water savings, and prioritizes outdoor water use to preserve high-value landscaping such as trees and shrubs.

David M. Kim is a licensed Realtor with Village Properties and the 2017 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at [email protected] or 805.296.0662. The opinions expressed are his own.

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