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I By SAMANTHA MEHLINGER Long Beach Business Journal A quick online search of the phrases housing development and California drought will turn up articles from the nations most well-known publications speculating that if the historic drought continues housing development may be limited by restrictive legislation or even executive mandates. These speculations come at a time when more housing is needed statewide the states department of housing and community development stated in a 2014 report that housing shortages are persistent in population growth areas throughout California causing affordability issues and impacting job growth. This uneven and slow rebound delays the economic multiplier benefits of more robust new housing construction to the state and regional economies according to the report. The California Legislative Analysts Office recently released findings that in order to meet demand 100000 more units per year than what are currently being produced are necessary. Local and regional water wholesalers and retailers in Los Angeles and Orange Counties building industry leaders and even some state legislators agree that limiting housing construction at a time when it could harm the states economy is not the answer. That doesnt mean however that developers wont face changes as statewide perceptions about water use change. To encourage housing development while minimizing impacts to the water supply Assemblymember Ed Chau head of the California Legislatures Housing Committee is working on legislation to encourage infill developments housing developments lo- cated in densely populated and typically built-out areas. Oftentimes these infill developments are done on smaller lots Chau said. As such they will create less demand for water. He explained that infill developments are hooked up to existing water supply infrastructure with shorter pipes thereby reducing the risk of water being wasted. Assembly Bill 744 is a piece of legislation I am working on that would allow for a density bonus he said referring to incentives such as relaxed parking requirements for infill developments. I think developers ought to work closely with local governments to make sure that we are cognizant he said. We need to be very conscious of water conservation and in light of the situation we developers and legislators need to work very closely. Chau pointed out that the question of how residential water use impacts supplies warrants a closer look. We want to look at the existing housing situation and ask the question How do we make the existing housing more water efficient Getting state and federal legislators and politicians to examine Californias existing housing supply for opportunities for water conservation has been one of the priorities of the California Building Industry Association CBIA a Sacramento-based trade association representing builders statewide. In recent written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Dave Cogdill CEO of the CBIA wrote that two out of three homes in California were built before building provisions related to water conservation were in place. These homes he wrote can use up to two or three times more water than newly built homes which are regulated by the California Green Building Standards Code. If every existing home in California were retrofitted with the most recent building and plumbing building standards over 300 billion gallons of water could be saved annually he wrote. The CBIA is advocating for more rebate programs and incentives to be offered by the federal and state governments as well as municipal- ities counties and water districts. The CBIA estimates it would cost only about 1500 per home to install water-efficient appliances and fixtures. Certain government agencies like the Los Angeles District of Water and Power LADWP already offer such programs. We offer free showerheads faucet aerators and pre-rinse spray In Light Of The Drought Changing Perceptions About Water Conservation And Housing Development 26 We need to utilize landscaping that is drought tolerant. People over-irrigate their lawns. Mike Markus General Manager Orange County Water District Drought tolerant plants are becoming more popular with homeowners and developers throughout California. 2015_OlsonCompanyInTownLiving_PortAnniversary 8815 118 PM Page 26