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Water conservation law to impact property owners

By Colin Steiner, csteiner@krcrtv.com
Published On: Dec 17 2013 07:33:52 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 17 2013 08:44:59 PM CST
CHICO, Calif. -

A piece of a 2009 California law that's set to go into effect Jan. 1, will impact property owners looking to renovate or remodel their homes or businesses.

It's called Senate Bill 407 and while it's been in effect for four years, a new portion of the law that triggers on the first of the year will require property owners who are looking to add on to their homes to also replace their plumbing fixtures with new low-flow hardware.

"For somebody who's planning a home improvement project that may be marginally affordable, this may cause it to not pencil out," said City of Chico building official Nelson Gordon.

The aim of the law is to help reduce California water use 20 percent by 2020 and it applies to homes built before 1994.

While many homes will fall under the new guidelines, many also are already equipped with low-flow hardware for faucets and showers.

What's more, Victor Simenc, owner of Able Plumbing and Electrical, says the City of Chico subsidized the cost of low-flow toilets in the early 90s.

"So even homes earlier than that had a lot of them replaced [because of the subsidy] or if people had to replace them for repair," says Simenc. "So currently there's probably a lot of homes that already have efficient enough toilets for what the law requires."

That's good news if you're looking to make that tight renovation budget work next year.

And while complying may be a pain, Simenc said ultimately it's for a good cause.

"You know, it's important for us to save water," said Simenc. "Everybody knows, it seems like right now we're starting another drought this year."

In fact, officials have said 2012 could be the driest year in California in recorded history.

The best thing to do if you think you might be impacted by the new trigger law is head down to your city building department to learn how they're implementing it.