California residents will soon be counting the number of times they flush the toilet after a new law signed in by governor Jerry Brown. The law puts a strict limit on the number of gallons a household is allowed to use in a day as part of a new water-efficiency standard. California is the first state in the country to put a limit on the amount of water a household can use.
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The Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board Felicia Marcus said, "So that everyone in California is at least integrating efficiency into our preparations for climate change." The new law puts the limit of indoor water use to 55 gallons per day, per person by 2022. By 2030, that limit will fall to 50 gallons. One mother named Tanya Allen said, "With a child and every day having to wash clothes, that’s, just my opinion, not feasible. But I get it and I understand that we’re trying to preserve…but 55 gallons a day?"
If you are wondering how many gallons household chores use, an 8-minute shower uses 17 gallons of water, a load of laundry uses up to 40, and a bathtub holds around 80-100 gallons of water. Rocka Mitchell of Texas said he and his wife are living in Sacramento and the new limits will be hard for them. "She likes to bathe three times a day and she does laundry all day." Mitchell's wife added, "I couldn’t do it. My family is way too large."
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Marcus was adamant that the new limits are reasonable, "I think the average new home is 35 gallons per person per day, so we are not talking emergency conservation here." The new laws also take aim at water waste by requiring districts to perform stress tests of their water supply and fix any leaks. "Right now we lose up to 30 percent of urban water just to leaks in the system," Marcus said. Repairing the existing water infrastructure could make a huge difference for conservation efforts. Districts which don't comply face fines up to $10,000 per day.
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