California cities introduce rules and fines on water use during drought

CALIFORNIA (KTXL) – As California enters another drought year, cities and counties across the state have implemented water restrictions in hopes of reducing pressure on water sources from the state.

Banning non-working lawns from being watered will save hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water per year, according to the state.

Water Restrictions in Northern California

Contra Costa County

In April, Contra Costa Water District asked users to reduce their water consumption by 15%.

The district has proposed a temporary drought surcharge of up to 15% starting in July.


On June 21, Manteca City Council declared a drought emergency, moving the city into Stage 2 of its water shortage contingency plan and leading to increased water restrictions. water for residents, businesses and the town hall.

“Residents can expect to see yellow and brown lawns, yellow and brown public spaces, parks, and more. said Manteca Public Works Manager Carl Brown.

Businesses, churches, schools and hospitals are prohibited from watering their decorative lawns as part of city and state efforts to conserve water.

“Often we’ve found that outdoor irrigation is the biggest water use for our residents, so reducing watering times and days will really help reduce the amount of water they use,” said Brown. .

Marin County

The Marin Water board created new guidelines in March to prohibit the installation of new decorative lawns in commercial areas.

“The council’s decision is intended to discourage new installations of purely decorative turf around shopping complexes and in street medians by limiting the use of the district’s potable and reclaimed water supplies for turf care and maintenance,” said Marin Water in a press release.

Placer County

In May, the Placer County Water Agency entered Phase 2 of its water shortage contingency plan.

In Stage 2 of the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) water restrictions, customers are advised to:

  • Water landscaping between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. to reduce evaporation
  • Watering can be done outside these times for plant containers, trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens if they are watered by a drip irrigation system, manual watering or smart controller system .
  • Lawn watering is limited to three days a week during the months of July, August and September.
  • In April, May, June, October and November, lawn watering is limited to two days a week.
  • Washing of sidewalks and driveways is prohibited unless necessary for public safety.
  • Non-essential flushing of water mains and fire hydrants is prohibited

PCWA also offers a smart water use discount program with a series of items that can be installed in your home.

Some of the discounts include:

  • A $500 rebate for the installation of a water tank
  • A $250 rebate for installing an EPA WaterSense approved weather-based irrigation controller
  • A $50 discount for the installation of a solar or safety pool cover
  • A $1,000 rebate for replacing grass lawns with water-efficient landscaping

Sacramento County

The Sacramento County Water Resources Control Board also implemented a series of water restrictions in May for residents, businesses and water providers across the state.

What is prohibited for everyone?

  • Use potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways
  • Runoff when irrigating with drinking water
  • Using hoses without shut-off nozzles for washing cars
  • Use potable water to decorate water features that do not recirculate water
  • Use outdoor irrigation during and 48 hours after measurable rainfall

What is required for business?

  • Restaurants and other catering establishments may only serve water to customers upon request
  • Hotels and motels must offer guests the option of not having towels and linens washed daily

What is required of water suppliers?

  • Impose restrictions on outdoor irrigation
  • Inform customers of leaks that are under the control of the customer
  • Monthly water usage report
  • Compliance and Enforcement Report


Stockton City Council voted in mid-July to approve an ordinance that would allow residents to be fined if they fail to water on designated days.

The move was made in response to the state moving into Stage 2 of its Water Conservation Plan, which calls for California residents to reduce their waste consumption by 20%.

Here is the following watering schedule for residents:

Odd addresses

  • Sunday — No Watering
  • Monday — No Watering
  • Tuesday — Water
  • Wednesday — No Watering
  • Thursday — No Watering
  • Friday — No Watering
  • Saturday — Water

West Sacramento

The city of West Sacramento began implementing a watering program for residents on June 9.

  • Addresses ending in odd numbers will water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Addresses ending in even numbers will water Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
  • Residents are not permitted to water between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Residents are also encouraged to:

  • Repair leaks or broken sprinklers within 7 days
  • Sweep sidewalks and driveways instead of using a hose
  • Use a pool cover
  • Restaurants should only serve water on request

Yuba City

In late May, Yuba City shifted from an educational approach to water conservation to a coercive approach.

“If the dry weather continues, we really need to maximize conservation now, so we have that availability later,” Yuba City Public Works Director Ben Moody told FOX40 in early May.

Residents are asked to conserve a minimum of 20% water and outdoor watering days have been reduced to Mondays and Thursdays.

Even addresses

  • Sunday — Water
  • Monday — No Watering
  • Tuesday — No water
  • Wednesday — Water
  • Thursday — No water
  • Friday — No Water
  • Saturday — No water

Water Restrictions in Southern California

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Electricity imposed restrictions on its customers in May by reducing lawn watering to two days a week in hopes of reducing water use by 35%.

Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District, which provides water to about 40% of the state’s population, declared a water shortage emergency last month and called on millions of people to reduce the watering their garden one day a week.

Civic addresses in odd numbers will be limited to watering on Mondays and Fridays, while those ending in even numbers will be able to water on Thursdays and Sundays.

Those who don’t comply with the new rules will initially receive a warning but could see escalating fines for continued violations, LADWP chief executive and chief engineer Martin Adams told The Times.

San Diego

The City of San Diego followed Governor Gavin Newsom’s Phase 2 water restrictions in June by also asking residents to reduce their water usage by 20%.

Under the new “Tier 2” restrictions, San Diego customers are asked to limit landscape watering to three days a week — before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. This does not apply to commercial growers, nurseries or golf courses.

“Fortunately, in the San Diego area, we have invested a lot of money to diversify our water supply. So our local situation isn’t as bad as some of the other parts of the state of California, but our conservation efforts can help other state agencies by continuing to secure our water supplies and taking less effort. ‘supply the statewide system,’ said San Diego Department of Public Utilities Director Juan Guerreiro.

Bernard P. Love