Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday an executive order for mandatory statewide water use reductions, the first-ever order in California's history, according to the governor's office.
With a record-low snowpack amid the state's drought, Brown directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory 25% reductions in water usage by California cities and towns through February 2016.
The Pleasanton City Council instituted a mandatory 25% water restriction last May, but in late-January the council suspended the billing penalty component of the emergency drought mandate for a period of 90 days -- to allow time to consider the condition of the reservoir levels and snowpack in the State Water Project.
"It's important for our water users to understand that emergency drought measures could go back into effect prior to April if we don't have enough measurable rain and snow by then," Daniel Smith, Operation Services Director and Pleasanton's water czar, said at the January council meeting.
Pleasanton's water billing penalty implemented last May was based on a mandatory 25% reduction in water use over what those same customers used in the same billing period in 2013.
Brown's executive order Wednesday also calls on the water board to direct local water agencies to adjust their rate structures to implement conservation pricing.
School campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes are required to make significant cuts in water use, and will create a statewide initiative partnering with local agencies to replace lawns with drought-tolerant landscapes, according to the governor's office.
In addition, a rebate program will be set up to provide incentives for the replacement of inefficient household devices.
The governor announced the water use reductions Wednesday morning at a manual snowpack survey conducted 90 miles east of Sacramento.
According to the California Department of Water Resources, electronic reading have shown the Sierra Nevada's snowpack's water content is lower than any year on record -- just 8% of the historical average as of late March.
"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow. This historic drought demands unprecedented action," Brown said in a statement.
"Therefore, I'm issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible," the governor said.