Welcome to the State of California 

Drought Preparedness, Water Conservation and Water Supply Emergency Response

Last Update:  April 14, 2014


Funding:  The Public Water System Drought Emergency (PWSDE) Funding Guidelines (PDF)Opens in new window. have been approved.

Drought Impact:  Update on drought impact on public drinking water systems

Local Ordinances:  For public water systems considering the adoption of local ordinances concerning drought and/or water conservation, here are sample documents and templates.  Also, see Public Water System Actions, below.

Drought Conditions:  The California Drought Website has the most current information and updates regarding drought conditions througout the State of California.

Reorganization Proposal:  The Administration has proposed a July 1, 2014 transfer of the Drinking Water Program from CDPH to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Find out more at http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/drinkingwater/index.shtml.

Drought-Related Activities and Information 

California is facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history. On January 17, 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.  This follows the creation of a Drought Task Force that was established in December.

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 initiated a greatly expanded water conservation public awareness campaign

CDPH Actions

  • Collect information on public water systems to help identify those anticipating severe shortages or water outages
  • Provide assistance in identifying and permitting alternative water supplies
  • Participate on the Governor’s Drought Task Force
  • Provide Funding and Technical Assistance

Important Contact Information

Public Water System Actions

  • All public water supply systems are encouraged to keep records of their water system production and delivery activities through metering at the source and at customer connections. 
  • All public water supply systems are also encouraged to adopt metered water rates that reflect the full cost of the water production and delivery and which encourage customers to minimize water use through progressively increasing water rates or other measures that penalize excessive water use. 
  • All public water supply systems that do not have customer meters and effective metered rates are encouraged to take the steps needed obtain the funds needed to install meters and adopt effective metered rates.  Such water systems are also encouraged to adopt water conservation plans that minimize waste. Such plans should include voluntary and/or mandatory schedules for landscape irrigation, prohibitions on “gutter flooding”, and may include restrictions on car washing and other uses if a severe water shortage is anticipated.
  • All public water supply systems are encouraged to regularly conduct evaluations of the water losses in their delivery systems.  The difference in water produced versus the water sold to customers should be tabulated and tracked at least on an annual basis.  This information should be used to identify badly worn transmission and distribution system pipelines and storage facilities, which contribute to water loss. 
  • All public water systems are required to complete an electronic annual report.  CDPH has added questions related to drought conditions which will greatly assist in identifying potential problems before they become a crisis.
  • All public water systems should consider adopting local ordinances concerning drought and/or water conservation.  Click here for sample documents and templates.
  • Any public water system that anticipates severe shortages or water outages due to drought conditions should immediately contact its CDPH District Office (PDF)Opens in new window. to begin work on contingencies. 

Public Actions

  • The Governor has asked California residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. 

Helpful Links

Governor's Office of Planning and Research Drought Information Clearinghouse

Information from the Department of Water Resources regarding the current drought conditions

Information from the State Water Resources Control Board regarding water rights and allocations

Water Conservation

Local Resources

Rural Communities, Businesses and Farmers

Recycled Water

Last modified on: 4/14/2014 3:39 PM