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California Lengthens Water Restrictions

Even with the rain-producing El Niño weather phenomenon expected to hit the state this winter, California residents will likely continue to live under the current stringent water restrictions until next fall.

In early November, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new executive order extending the end of the water restrictions from February 2016 to October 2016, if the drought isn’t over by January 2016. While El Niño could bring a lot of much-needed rain, the state’s drought is so severe that it is unlikely to end by then. 

Since June 2015, urban areas have been under orders to cut water use by 25 percent. 

In a previous drought-related executive order, issued in April, Gov. Brown mandated that all toilets, urinals and faucets sold in the state after Jan. 1, 2016, meet higher efficiency standards. The new standards are expected to cut water use for toilets and faucets by almost 25 percent — saving an annual 105 billion gallons of water of the 443 billion gallons currently used. 

In 2014, a California law went into effect mandating that all houses, apartments and businesses — not just new construction — have low-flow plumbing fixtures installed.