Governor signs conservation law inspired by Sonora High’s ‘Water Guardians’

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a water conservation bill that a group of Sonora High School girls, known as the Water Guardians, helped introduce.

The new law allows water suppliers that offer water efficiency rebates to commercial and industrial users to also include K-12 schools. Schools can use the rebates for planned and future facilities improvements that include water-efficient toilets, faucets and hose nozzles.

Students from Washington Middle School in La Habra being honored in Sacramento
The La Habra “Water Guardians” were recognized by state lawmakers in 2016 for their work to conserve water in public schools.

The legislation was proposed earlier this year by Assemblyman Phillip Chen, R-Brea. He was inspired to sponsor Assembly Bill 1343 after learning about how the Water Guardians — Jessica Gallegos, 14; Fiona Paredes, 15; Skye Lim, 14; and Angeline Dequit, 15 — created a water conservation plan when they attended Washington Middle School in La Habra City School District in 2015 that cut water consumption by 30 percent.

The four girls, who now attend Sonora High, traveled this spring to Sacramento to speak on behalf of the bill before the Assembly’s Education Committee.

“We want to create a future for our community and state, where we have a plentiful water supply and all citizens are better prepared with water conservation skills for life,” Lim told committee members then.

The law will help create Go Low Flow Water Conservation Partnerships between school districts and public water systems “for purposes of reducing water use at schools, reducing stormwater and dry weather runoff at schools, reducing schoolsite water pollution, and establishing the basis for educational opportunities in water conservation.”

The law also encourages schools to work with their water suppliers to better educate students, families and communities on the importance of water conservation.