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California Drought & Regulatory Action: What It Means for Building Owners

California is experiencing the most severe drought on record, entering its fourth year, with 90 percent of the state in extreme or exceptional drought conditions. It is estimated that California only has about 1 year of water supply left in reservoirs.

The Governor and state agencies, including the Water Board, California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, and the California Transportation Commission have taken significant action in 2015. Explore what the California drought & regulatory action means for building owners:


San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (10% reduction assigned) will likely follow other water retailers and increase the cost of water 3x for customers who exceed water use limits starting in June 2015. New Reporting Requirements to go into effect in June 2015 that require monthly commercial/industrial sector use data collection and reporting. Conservation savings will be measured on a cumulative basis by comparing 2015 monthly water use data against water used during the same months in 2013. Water retailers face Administrative Civil Liabilities up to $10K/Day for not meeting water reduction targets or reporting requirements; fines expected to flow through to non-compliant customers.


  • Track all building utility data, including water consumption. Ideally this is done through automation software that also checks and remediates for billing irregularities.
  • Follow other corporate leaders and join Ceres “Connect the Drops” campaign to show support for the importance of water conservation.

This article is courtesy Dave Lange, Project Manager at Haley & Aldrich. David heads up Haley & Aldrich’s water efficiency programs.