(Bloomberg) -- California water officials voted to force local agencies to step up their conservation efforts amid a drought that will get worse as the state enters the hot and dry summer.
The California Water Resources Control Board passed an emergency measure on Tuesday that will require agencies to put in place contingency plans for up to a 20% shortage in water supplies. The board also approved a ban on watering “non-functional” grass at commercial, industrial and institutional properties.
“The severity of this drought requires all Californians to save water in every possible way,” Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the California Water Board, said in a statement Tuesday.
The water board’s action comes after Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order in March calling on local water agencies to bolster their response to the drought as residents had failed to heed calls for voluntary conservation. Newsom wanted the state to reduce water use by 15%, but Californians have only achieved a 3.7% water savings since July.
The Democratic governor warned on Monday that he may have to impose statewide mandatory restrictions if local water agencies fail to meet desired reduction goals.
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