California is currently experiencing one of the most severe droughts on record. In January 2014 Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. Governor Brown issued an extension of that executive order in November 2015, calling for additional actions to build on the state’s ongoing response to record dry conditions.
California is just entering the warmer months of the year and already 65% of the state is experiencing some level of drought in the first week of May 2018. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows the range of conditions throughout the state.
As California’s historic drought continues, Governor Brown has signed a number of bills to help boost water conservation, strengthen groundwater management and improve water quality. The press release and listing of bills can be viewed at https://www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19159.
In April, Governor Brown announced the first-ever 25 percent statewide mandatory water reductions and a series of actions to help save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state’s drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient. Californians have responded with unprecedented conservation efforts, exceeding the Governor’s water reduction order in each of the past three months. To learn more about the state’s drought response, visit: Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.
The State Water Resources Control Board – responsible for directing urban water suppliers to develop rate structures and other pricing mechanisms that maximize water conservation consistent with statewide water use restrictions – has solicited comments on the effectiveness of conservation water pricing. While many water suppliers have established rate structures and pricing mechanisms to incentivize water conservation, additional opportunities to increase water savings remain.
Last Friday, the California Building Standards Commission voted to adopt emergency regulations that limit potable water use for outdoor irrigation at California hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities, making them more water efficient. Amending the 2013 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), the new emergency regulations went in to effect June 1 and are enforceable by local and state agencies.
On Saturday, April 18, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) released draft emergency regulations pertaining to the drought and emergency water conservation. Comments are due April 22 (a very brief comment period because they are emergency regulations). CHA is working with its Emergency Management Advisory Committee and the California Society of Healthcare Engineers (CSHE) Executive Committee to review and respond to the draft emergency regulations. Prior to the draft regulations, the SWRCB released a draft framework on April 7.
It is important to note that the draft regulations are being imposed on water suppliers to achieve a statewide 25 percent reduction in potable urban usage through Feb. 28, 2016. The draft regulations also propose a nine-tiered process to more equitably allocate the conservation savings necessary to reach the statewide 25 percent reduction.
Hospitals are urged to actively engage with their local water supplier by educating them on the hospital’s needs and letting them know how the facility can conserve water. The proposed regulations, along with a corresponding fact sheet and the proposed regulatory framework tiers (including a list of urban water suppliers) are attached.
Yesterday, Gov. Brown issued a new executive order (B-29-15) directing the first ever statewide mandatory water reduction. The order requires a 25 percent reduction in water usage across the state and emphasizes saving water, increasing enforcement and streamlining government response. Given this is the fourth year of the drought, hospitals having been conserving water in a variety of ways, using both short-term and long-term conservation strategies.
“As California enters a fourth year of severe drought, the State Water Resources Control Board Tuesday adopted an expanded emergency regulation to safeguard the state’s remaining water supplies.
“We are experiencing the lowest snowpack and the driest January in recorded history, and communities around the state are already suffering severely from the prior three years of drought,” said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. “If the drought continues through next winter and we do not conserve more — the consequences could be even more catastrophic than they already are. Today’s action is just a tune-up and a reminder to act, and we will consider more significant actions in the weeks to come.”
With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency in January and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The state has continued to lead the way to make sure California is able to cope with an unprecedented drought.
With California facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.
In the State of Emergency declaration, Governor Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages. The Governor also directed state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters and initiated a greatly expanded water conservation public awareness campaign.
Due to the unprecedented drought California is facing, CHA has requested an update to a report it originally commissioned in 2009 titled Water Conservation in California: Feasible Options.
The report, prepared by Capital Engineering Consultants, provides hospitals with a range of options for conserving water, from low-cost practices that are easy to implement to more substantial initiatives for consideration during a major retrofit or the construction of a new hospital.
The attached Guidelines for Developing Best Practices to Assist California Hospitals in Preparing for and Responding to a Water Disruption are being published in draft form and are for hospital use in preparing for the November 17, 2011 California Statewide Medical and Health Training and Exercise Program. These tools may also be used for any other hospital water disruption planning activities.
These guidelines were drafted under the CHA Hospital Preparedness Program with participation from a work group which was comprised of hospital representatives and state regulatory agencies.
The guidelines address:
Overview of a hospital water disruption
The hospital water supply planning team
Conducting a water use audit
Role of California Regulatory Agencies in a water disruption
Water disruption standards and regulations
Coordinating with the community response to a water disruption
The guidelines contain links to federal and state references and include six attachments which provide additional information and check lists to assist hospitals with water disruption planning and response.
Emergency Water Supply Planning Guide for Hospitals
Provides information on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a water supply interruption; developed jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Water Works Association (AWWA).
Addresses drinking water and waste water safety, security, and preparedness; collaborative project between the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council & U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) is the largest statewide coalition of public water agencies in the country. Its nearly 440 public agency members collectively are responsible for 90% of the water delivered to cities, farms and businesses in California.
This tool highlights some of the impacts of a water interruption and poses questions to ask to help you prepare for an interruption. Additionally, it provides some information on existing resources that can help you develop and implement your preparedness strategy, including information related to the Joint Commission Emergency Management Standards for hospitals to have a plan to respond to a 96-hour disruption of service for all utilities, including water and wastewater services.