California Assembly Bill 1750 was signed by Governor Jerry Brown today to enact the Rainwater Capture Act of 2012, a significant new measure clarifying that the use of rainwater captured from rooftops does not require a water right permit from the State Water Resources Control Board.
California Passes Rainwater Act
This much-needed liberalization of the law further permits holders of a C27 licence (landscape contractors) to prime contract for the construction of such systems when they are used exclusively for irrigation or as supply for a fountain, waterfall, pond, or other water feature.
Designed together with targeted overflow into bioswales and vernal detainment pools, rainwater management systems recharge local aquifers and liberate the gardener from the city garden hose.
The new law also acknowledges change in precipitation patterns, with more changes to come:
An increasing amount of California's water is predicted to fall not as snow in the mountains, but as rain in other areas of the state. This will affect the local hydrologic cycle profoundly; much of that rainwater will no longer be held in existing reservoirs, which are located to capture snowmelt.
Snowmelt is also predicted to occur progresively early in the year, so reservoirs operated for flood control must release water early in the season to protect against later storms, thereby reducing the amount of early-season snowmelt that can be saved.
Expanding opportunities for rainwater capture to augment water supply will require efforts at all levels, from individual landowners to state and local agencies and watershed managers.
Here at Madroño, we hope to serve ever more clients choosing to improve their landscapes so elementally.