Water Conservation FAQs

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Existing conservation standards

The City is in a Level 1 Water Shortage and seeks a reduction in water use by 15% across the City.

 What are the permanent water restrictions? Where can I get more information?

  • Outdoor irrigation is limited to 15 minutes a station/per day (low flow systems are exempt)
  • Outdoor irrigation is prohibited between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm.
  • No watering during rainfall and 48 hours afterward.
  • No excessive runoff.
  • No washing or hosing down of hard or paved surfaces.
  • Leaks must be fixed within seven days.

Click here to see the City's Water Conservation Ordinance

Other Restrictions

Are there restrictions on how often I can wash my car?

No. However, you are required to use an automatic shutoff device on the hose. Washing your car at home typically uses 100 plus gallons. Leaving your car dirty longer or using a commercial car wash where they recycle their water can help to conserve water. Many local car washes recycle their water on-site and reuse it before draining it back into the sewer systems. This helps conserve water and protect local waterways by limiting the amount of soap and oil that flow untreated to storm drains to creeks and rivers.

Are there any restrictions on swimming pools?

No. However, we are encouraging residents to limit evaporation by using a pool cover. A cover is required when building a new pool.

Can I keep using my decorative pond?

There are no restrictions currently. However, in a Level 2 restriction filling or refilling ornamental lakes or ponds with potable water is prohibited unless they contain valuable aquatic life, such as Koi fish or turtles which were present before the drought declaration.

Outside Irrigation

What are the exceptions to the time limitations on watering?

Low-flow irrigation (less than 2 gallons per hour) is exempt from the 15-minute time-limit and the days per week rules (when in effect).

Watering for 15 minutes is a lot of water. Why can’t I water more frequently for less time?

Frequent light watering by spreading it out over multiple days actually harms lawns and trees by causing them to grow shallower/weaker root systems. Watering twice a week deeply allows the water to soak deeper into the soil, promoting deeper/healthier root systems and thus resulting in more drought-resistant lawns.  To achieve deeper watering without the runoff, many landscapers recommend several cycles. For instance, you may only be able to water an area for five minutes before you have runoff. Water for five minutes and cycle through the rest of your stations and then do another cycle on those stations where you need to water more deeply.

Is it 15 minutes in total for watering?

Each station on the irrigation station is limited to a maximum of 15 minutes of watering on your watering days. You can set your stations, so they water for a short period, such as three minutes and then do multiple passes as long as they do not exceed the maximum allowed of 15 minutes per station.

I want to plant a new lawn or lay down some new sod.

It would be best to wait until the weather cools down and the lawn will not need as much water to survive. Also, consider planting warm weather grasses better suited for drought survival and limiting grass areas to functional turf.

Functional vs non-functional turf or grass.

The City is encouraging everyone to eliminate non-functional turf or grass. The definition varies somewhat, but non-functional turf is generally considered any grass that is not regularly used. The shorthand definition is grass that never gets stepped on except when it is mowed. 

Who is responsible for maintaining the parkway in front of my property?

A property owner is responsible for the care of the parkway in front of their property, including watering any City trees. However, the property owner can eliminate the turf, plant drought-tolerant plants, convert to a mulch or rock feature or otherwise re-landscape at their discretion. It is preferable that the area remains permeable to allow for water infiltration into our groundwater. This will be an important source of water in the future. Occasionally, either City or utilities staff also need to dig down to access the utilities. When that occurs, artificial turf, cement or other impermeable materials make it difficult to access. Contact Public Works at (805) 449-2499 if you have questions about your city tree,

Enforcement & Fines

I got a notice on my door (door hanger) saying I violated one of the restrictions. I don’t think we were at fault.

The door hangers are meant as a courtesy notice that you may have violated one or more of the conservation measures and is meant to encourage you to investigate further and take appropriate action to correct the situation if there is a problem.

Do you have “water police”?  Who reported me?

City staff may have witnessed a violation as they were conducting their normal duties or someone may have reported a violation. The door hanger is a courtesy notice only at this point. At this current stage, the City does not have “water police” or staff dedicated to looking for violations.

What happens if I have another violation?

Through water conservation education and public outreach, enforcement will be focused on voluntary compliance, but fines of up to $500 per occurrence may be levied on repeat offenders. Before issuing a fine, staff would verify and document the violation and attempt to contact the resident or business to discuss ways to conserve water.

How do I report someone for violating one of the water conservation rules?

To report a leak or water waste call (805) 375‐5747 or use the ConnecTO App to report any type of concerns throughout the City. If we do not answer, please leave a descriptive message of the violation, the location, and your contact information in case we need more details.

Home Conservation

Where can I find out about rebates?

Be is the primary link for all water rebates. If you use this website and enter in your property information, it will check for all the water rebates you are eligible to receive. The City participates in the Metropolitan Water District program and does not have a separate rebate program.

Where can I go for more information?

For more information on water saving tips, rebates, events and workshops, visit our Save Water page. There are multiple links to other helpful websites and a calendar of events that features workshops and talks by experts on biochar, natural plant landscapes, greywater, and other water conservation-related topics.

Does the City provide any help?

You can get a FREE In‐Home Water Conservation Survey by calling (805) 375‐5747. California American Water and California Water Service also provide a similar service for their customers. The survey will help you identify areas where you can conserve water and where you may be losing water. However, this is not a leak detection service which requires specialized equipment and expertise.

What is the contact information for my water agency?

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