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Watering Schedule (Ordinance)

Water Wisely and You Can Water Every Day

The Sacramento City Council voted in August 2017 to end the emergency watering restrictions. At the same time, the City made long-term conservation a way of life by adopting a two-day-a-week watering schedule in the spring and summer of 2018 and beyond.

The reality is that residents and businesses can water every day if they water wisely under the new ordinance that took effect November 1, 2017. Here’s how:

Watering Wisely to Water More Often

Watering multiple times for shorter periods on fewer days
By watering multiple times for shorter periods, you can encourage roots to grow deeper. Overwatering can lead to fungus, a shallow root system, and water runoff.

Do the “screwdriver test”
Stick an eight-inch screwdriver into the ground. If you can push it more than three inches into the ground, you don’t need to water.

Avoid Runoff
Stop watering before runoff or puddling occurs. Otherwise, you might be sending water down the storm drain or overwatering your landscape which leads to unhealthy and weak plants.

Cycle the system
Wait at least 30-60 minutes to allow for the last irrigation cycle to soak into the soil.

Calculate your runtimes for 2 days per week
At beyondthedrought.com, click on the Sacramento Region Smart Irrigation Scheduler to calculate your runtimes for 2 days per week.

Water Wise Tree Care

A healthy tree canopy provides cleaner air and cooler temperatures, replenishes groundwater, and creates livable neighborhoods.
 
The best way to water trees to ensure that they establish and maintain deep roots is with a soaker hose  or drip emitters placed two-thirds of the way between the tree trunk and the outside of tree’s canopy. Residents can use soaker hoses and drip irrigation any day and any time under the 2017 ordinance. Protect your trees while still watering wisely:

  • Add organic mulch – 4" from the tree trunk and 6” deep
  • Soak the roots – water slow and deep at the drip line, so water soaks down to 18” below the surface
  • Do the screwdriver test – check the soil before watering again to be sure the ground needs water
  • Use soaker hoses or drip emitters to water your trees.
     

Water new landscapes anytime for first 30 days
Even drought-tolerant landscapes need a little short-term help to get established – providing long-term water savings. New landscapes are allowed to be watered any day and any time for 21 days after the installation to allow plants to become established.

Drip irrigation and hand watering are OK anytime
To help edible gardens thrive, drip irrigation and hand watering are encouraged. Both direct water as needed without waste. Potted plants and edible gardens can also be watered any day and any time. If residents still find that certain areas of their lawn or landscape need extra water beyond the two-day schedule, hand watering with a spray nozzle is allowed any day.

Water any day of the week with a Smart Controller
Smart Controllers, which can measure the moisture content of your lawn, can run any day of the week during the allowed watering hours of 7:00 pm – 10:00 am. The City offers residents a rebate  of up to $400 towards a Smart-Controller. Smart Controllers costs can range from around $150 to $350 – with the average unit costing around $200-$250. For business customer rebate information, please view details here.

Earn cash for grass – through our River-Friendly Landscape Rebate Program
Residential and business customers may be eligible to receive rebates for converting thirsty lawns to water-efficient landscape. The City offers residents and businesses a rebate of $1.00 per square foot of replaced turf up to allowable limits to help with the cost of replacement.

Water waste is never allowed
To ensure that we can maintain healthy landscapes, water waste is never allowed.

  • Do not water 48 hours after measurable rainfall (1/8”)
  • Watering should not cause water runoff from properties
  • Automatic sprinklers that are not on smart controllers still need to follow the watering days and times.
     

The chart below provides a quick reference to the Sacramento water schedule and how to water wisely. Download it here. Remember, watering times remain from 7:00 pm to 10:00 am regardless of season.

Water Misuse Reporting

Water conservation is a shared community commitment. If you see water being misused, watering on the wrong day or time, or over-watering, please report it by calling 311 or (916) 264-5011, emailing your report to 311@cityofsacramento.org , going online to our website  (click on Report Street Flooding ), or by using the City’s  free 311 app on your smartphone.
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 pattern to the watering, like the frequency it is being watered or for how long the watering is taking place.

     

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