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Indoor Residential Water Use Efficiency Standards

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Indoor Residential Water Use Efficiency Standards

High Efficiency Washing Machine

As part of its ongoing efforts to make water conservation a way of life in California, and to create a permanent state-mandated conservation standard for water districts, starting January 1, 2025, the State Water Resources Control Board will change indoor residential water use efficiency standards. Water use efficiency standards are the regulations water districts, like EMWD, must follow when creating water budgets for customers.

EMWD customers have a long standing history as statewide leaders in staying water wise with the average customer’s indoor water usage already close to the new indoor allocation. In fact, in 2023 more than 87 percent of residential customers stayed within their current water budgets. This means the reduction will have minimal impacts to EMWD customers already practicing water use efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a water budget?

Water budgets are personalized to individual customers' homes and families.  For information on Water Budgets and how they are calculated, visit

How will the state mandated reduction affect my water budget?

The state mandated reduction to the indoor water use standard, on average, will reduce EMWD customer water budgets by 1 billing unit (748 gallons) per month.  This reduction will have minimal impact to the more than 87 percent of EMWD residential customers already practicing water use efficiency.

Bar chart of Annual Average of Customers within Water Budgets from 2009 to 2023

What can I do to reduce my water usage?

Customers who are exceeding their overall water budget are encouraged to focus their efforts on outdoor irrigation.  Outdoor water use ranges from 30 to 70 percent of an average household's total water budget. 

Rebate programs are available to help customers replace the grass at their home with climate-appropriate landscaping, including trees.  Upgrade their irrigation controller to one that automatically adjusts based on weather patterns.  Improve their irrigation by adding deep watering stakes, drip irrigation, and modern sprinkler nozzles.  For more information on rebate programs, please visit  

Find personalized assistance customized to your specific needs with our FREE home consultation program.  Identify leaks, locate inefficiencies, receive a recommended irrigation schedule and rebate information at

Why is California reducing indoor water budgets?

The Indoor Residential Water Use Study, authored by the California Department of Water Resources, found the median indoor residential water use in California was well below the current standard.  The study recommended state lawmakers lower the standard to encourage more conservation as droughts become more frequent and severe.  In 2022, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1157 (Hertzberg) outlining the new indoor water use efficiency standard, which takes effect January 1, 2025.

Why is the state making Conservation a California Way of Life?

Drought tolerant landscape plants

Making Conservation a California Way of Life is a new way of managing urban water use. The State Water Board will consider a regulation that establishes unique efficiency goals for each urban retail water supplier in California and provides those suppliers flexibility to implement locally appropriate solutions. As part of the state’s all-of-the-above strategy to expand storage, develop new water supplies, and promote more efficient water use, this regulation seeks to cultivate long-term practices that help communities adapt to California's ongoing water challenges. The proposed regulation will lessen the need for the emergency water use reduction targets that were important in recent droughts.

As part of the proposed regulation, urban retail water suppliers – not individual households or businesses – will be held to “urban water use objectives.” An urban water use objective is the sum of standard-based budgets for a subset of water uses, such as residential outdoor use.

Learn more at