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Frequently Asked Questions About the city's watering schedule and Water Conservation

  1. When can I water my lawn?
  2. When can I wash my car?
  3. What can I do if I see a city park or other city facility over-watering or watering on the wrong day?
  4. What can I do if I see a neighbor over-watering or watering on the wrong day?
  5. How can I reduce my family's water use?
  6. How can I reduce my business water use?
  7. How much are the fines for watering on the wrong day or overwatering?
  8. Is the 21-day variance to establish new landscaping still in effect?

When can I water my lawn?

The Winter Watering Schedule begins November 1 and runs through February 28.  Watering is reduced to one day per week, either on Saturday or Sunday. Customers may pick their watering day. No weekday watering is permitted. No over-watering (excessive water running off yards and onto sidewalks or gutters, or ponding of water on properties) is allowed, nor is watering allowed within 48 hours of measurable rain (1/8”)

 

When can I wash my car?

Home car-washing must be done with a hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle or a bucket. Hoses may not be left running.

Consider taking your car to a Water Smart Car Wash. Remember, many local car washes recycle their water on-site and use it many times 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 down storm drains to creeks and rivers. For a listing of Water Smart Car Washes, visit http://bewatersmart.info/water-smart-carwash/

What can I do if I see a city park or other city facility over-watering or watering on the wrong day?

Please report overwatering or watering on the wrong day to the City by calling 311, emailing your report to 311@cityofsacramento.org, or by using the Sacramento 311 app on your mobile phone. You can find the Sacramento 311 app in Google Play or in the App Store on iTunes.

Because our city parks are primarily used on weekends, they are allowed to water during the week.
Other city facilities however should follow the watering schedules.

When reporting information to the City, please be sure to include:

  • Days and times the watering is occurring
  • Address of where the water misuse is taking place
  • Any sort of pattern to the watering, like the frequency it is being watered or for how long the watering is taking place.

What can I do if I see a neighbor watering on the wrong day?

Please report overwatering or watering on the wrong days to the City by calling 311, emailing your detailed report to 311@cityofsacramento.org, or by using the Sacramento 311 app on your mobile phone. You can find the Sacramento 311 app in Google Play or in the App Store on iTunes.

When reporting information to the City, please be sure to include:

  • Days and times the watering is occurring
  • Address of where the water misuse is taking place
  • Any sort of pattern to the watering, like the frequency it is being watered or for how long the watering is taking place.

How can I reduce my family’s water use?

The average Sacramento household uses 417 gallons of water per day. The best first step to water savings is to comply with the City’s twice per week watering rule during daylight savings time. The allowed watering days are based on the last number of the property’s street address. For more information, please visit www.sacwaterwise.com

There are several other changes you can make to your daily routine that can add up to big savings.

  • Taking a 5 minute shower instead of a 10 minute shower can save approximately 12.5 gallons of water (using a 2.5 gallon per minute, water-efficient shower head).
  • Turning off a faucet while brushing your teeth or washing your hands can save approximately 10 gallons per day;
  • Running a full load of clothes in your washing machine instead of smaller partial loads, can save between 15 and 50 gallons of water per load.

The City can also help you find ways to save water with a Water Wise House Call. As part of this free service, a City Water Conservation Specialist will walk through your home and property to help you find ways to save water, help you set your sprinkler timer, and bring you free water saving tools, like WaterSense high efficiency showerheads, automatic shut-off nozzles for hoses, and aerators for sinks. They will even pre-qualify you for available rebates. Call 311 or email 311@cityofsacramento.org to schedule your Water Wise House Call today.

Check out www.sacwaterwise.com for more information.

How can I reduce my business water use?

Every business is different and every solution is different. Businesses are required to follow the City’s watering rule. Some other suggested activities that can help most businesses reduce water use include:

  • Reducing irrigation run times by 1-2 minutes per station.
  • Installing high-efficiency urinals and toilets in restrooms.
  • Upgrading water using fixtures such as cooling towers, pre-rinse spray nozzles, and washing machine.

Commercial customers can receive a free Water Wise Business Call with a Water Conservation Specialist to find ways to save water while still providing excellent service for their customers. To request your free Water Wise Business Call, please call 311 or email 311@cityofsacramento.org.

The City also has rebates available to help businesses replace toilets and urinals, washing machines, and much more. For more information on available rebates for commercial customers, please visit www.sacwaterwise.com

How much are the fines for watering on the wrong day or overwatering?

The fines for failing to comply with the City’s water conservation ordinance are listed below. 

Violation Fine
First notice of violation Written notice of violation, no fine is issued
Second notice of violation (within 365 days) $25 fine, which can be waived by attending a Water Conservation Workshop or scheduling an audit
Third notice of violation (within 365 days) $100 fine
Fourth notice violation, and each subsequent notice of violation (within 365 days) $500 fine

Is the 21-day variance to establish new landscaping still in effect?

Yes, you may water up to 21 consecutive days when new sod is installed.  However, if you are irrigating with drip or are watering plants in containers, they are still exempt from the schedule. Note that runoff from your irrigation is not permitted at any time.