California limits daily personal water use to 55 gallons – kind of

Todd Snider of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing installs an ultra-low-flow toilet at a home in Novato, California./Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

 

The state’s new per capita limit on indoor water use is groundbreaking, but there is no practical way to enforce it. Rather, it is intended to inspire more conservation and guide larger efforts by water utilities

By Matt Weiser | News Deeply

CALIFORNIA HAS ALWAYS been America’s leader on environmental policy, and water is no exception. So it was hardly surprising when the state made headlines across the nation in early June with a new policy on residential water use: Californians will be limited to 55 gallons per person per day for their indoor water needs.

The rule is apparently the first of its kind in the nation. But lost in the excitement is the fact that water agencies have no way to measure how much water their customers use indoors. Homes have only one water meter, and it provides no information about where water is used or for what purpose.

In reality, it turns out, the 55-gallon limit is not a limit at all. It is merely an aspirational target meant to motivate customers to conserve.

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