California cities impose rules and fines on water use during drought

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

According to the state, banning irrigation of non-operating lawns would save hundreds of thousands of acres of water annually.

Water Restrictions in Northern California

Contra Costa . Province

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

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


On June 21, Manteca City Council declared a drought emergency that moved the city into phase two of its water shortage emergency plan and caused increased water restrictions for residents, businesses, and the city council.

“Residents can expect to see yellow and brown lawns, yellow and brown public spaces, gardens, etc,” said Carl Brown, Director of Public Works at Manteca.

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

“A lot of times, we’ve found that outdoor irrigation is the biggest water use for our residents, so reducing the amount of time and days they water will really help cut back on the amount of water they use,” Brown said. .

Marin County

The Marine Water Board put in place new guidelines in March to ban new ornamental lawns dripping in commercial areas.

“The council’s decision aims to discourage new installations of purely ornamental lawn around malls and in the middle of streets by restricting the use of potable and recycled water supplies for lawn care and maintenance,” Marin Water said in a press release.

Placer County

In May, the Placer County Water Agency entered phase two of its water shortage emergency plan.

In the second phase of the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) water restrictions, customers are required to:

  • Water bodies between 7 pm and 7 am to reduce evaporation
  • Watering outside these time frames can be done for container plants, trees, shrubs and vegetable gardens if they are irrigated by a drip irrigation system, manual watering or an intelligent control system.
  • Lawn watering is limited to three days a week during the months of July, August and September.
  • During April, May, June, October and November, watering is limited to two days per week.
  • It is prohibited to wash sidewalks and driveways unless it is necessary for public safety.
  • It is forbidden to clean unnecessary electric current and fire hydrants

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:

  • $500 discount for installing a water tank
  • $250 off EPA Weather-Based Irrigation Controller Installation
  • $50 off a solarium or safety cover
  • $1000 discount to replace lawns with water-saving landscaping

Sacramento County

The Sacramento County Water Resources Control Board also implemented a series of water restrictions in May for residents, businesses and water suppliers statewide.

What is forbidden to everyone?

  • Using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways
  • Surface runoff when irrigated with drinking water
  • Using hoses without shut-off nozzles to wash cars
  • Using potable water to decorate water bodies that do not recycle water
  • Use outdoor irrigation during and 48 hours after measurable rainfall

What is required for business?

  • Restaurants and other food service establishments can only serve water to customers upon request
  • Hotels and motels must provide guests with the option not to wash towels and linens daily

What is required of water suppliers?

  • Restrict outdoor watering
  • Notify customers of leaks under the control of the customer
  • Monthly water usage report
  • Report on compliance and enforcement


Stockton City Council voted in mid-July to approve an ordinance allowing residents to be fined if they do not water on their appointed days.

This decision was in response to the state’s transition to the second phase of its water conservation plan, which includes having Californians reduce their waste use by 20%.

This is the following watering schedule for residents:

Single numbered 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 schedule for residents on June 9.

  • Addresses ending with odd numbers will be water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Addresses ending in even numbers will be water Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
  • Residents are not allowed to water between 10 AM and 7 PM

Residents are also asked to:

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

Yuba City

In late May, Yuba City transitioned from an educational approach to water conservation to an application approach.

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

Residents are required to conserve at least 20% of their water and outdoor watering days have been reduced to Mondays and Thursdays.

Even numbered titles

  • Sunday – Water
  • Monday – no watering
  • Tuesday – no water
  • Wednesday – Water
  • Thursday – no water
  • Friday – no water
  • Saturday – no water

Water Restrictions in Southern California


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

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

Street addresses with odd numbers will be limited to watering on Mondays and Fridays, while addresses ending in even numbers can water on Thursdays and Sundays.

Those who do not comply with the new rules will initially receive a warning, but may see increased fines for continued violations, Martin Adams, general manager and chief engineer at LADWP, told The Times.

San Diego

The city of San Diego followed Governor Gavin Newsom’s Phase Two water restrictions in June by also asking residents to reduce water use by 20%.

Under the new “Level 2” restrictions, San Diego clients are required to water the landscape 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’ve invested a lot of money to diversify our water supply. So our situation locally isn’t as dire as some other areas within California, but our conservation efforts can help other agencies in the state by continuing to secure the water supply. We’re taking supplies less than the system statewide,” San Diego Department of Public Utilities Director Juan Guerrero said.

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