As we mentioned in our April 10, 2017 article, Governor Brown lifted the drought state of emergency statewide (aside from Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne counties). However, the impact of the Governor lifting the state of emergency depends on whether cities, counties and local water authorities have lifted their own states of emergency.
Remember that Civil Code sections 4735(c)(1)&(2) state an association may not fine or assess a member for failing to water his or her landscaping if the Governor or a local government has declared a statewide emergency. To get clarification, our office has inquired with various water authorities and water districts of Southern California and, for the most part, the local water districts have also lifted their emergency drought measures.
The San Diego County Water Authority, which acts as a water wholesaler for all of the water districts within the county, made a decision to follow suit with the governor and lift the drought state of emergency. In San Diego County, typically each individual water district follows the Water Authority and state measures. Thus, the drought restrictions regarding associations’ watering rules will be lifted in most, if not all, community associations in San Diego County. (Each association should inquire with its local water authority to ensure this is the case).
However, the Coachella Valley Water District has decided not to lift its water-use restrictions. This means associations serviced by the Coachella Valley Water District still cannot fine or assess those owners that choose not to water their landscaping along with other water-use restrictions. Conversely, Indio Water Authority and the Desert Water Authority decided to lift their drought restrictions.
If you have any questions about your community’s water restrictions we suggest that you call your local water authority or contact our office.
*Please note, not all water districts or water authorities have updated their websites regarding the lifting of restrictions.