San Diego County Mandatory Water Restrictions

What you need to know during the San Diego County drought alert

San Diego, California

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UPDATE: The City of San Diego's mandatory water restrictions went into effect on June 1, 2009. Here are the Level 2 mandatory restrictions residents must abide by:

Landscape irrigation is limited to no more than three assigned days per week from June 1- Oct. 31. Those days are:


  • o Homes with odd-numbered addresses can water: Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday
    • o Homes with even-numbered addresses can water: Saturday, Monday & Wednesday
    • o Apartments, Condos and Businesses can water: Monday, Wednesday & Friday

* On your watering day, you may only water before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

* Landscape irrigation using sprinklers is limited to no more than ten minutes maximum per watering station per assigned day (does not apply to drip, micro-irrigation, stream rotor, rotary heads, hose end sprinklers with timers or valves operated by a weather-based irrigation controller).

* Trees and shrubs not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system may be watered no more than three assigned days per week by using a hand-held container, hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle, or low-volume soaker hose.

* Irrigation of nursery and commercial growers' products is permitted in the hours between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. or at any time when using a hand-held hose with a positive shut-off nozzle, hand-held container, or drip, micro-irrigation.

* Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time.

* Vehicle washing is permitted only in the hours between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. with a hand-held container or a hand-held hose with a positive shut-off nozzle for quick rinses, or at any time on the immediate premises of a commercial car wash. Vehicle washing required for public health and safety is exempt.

* Water use by commercial car washes which do not use partially re-circulated water will be reduced in volume by an amount determined by the City Council.

* All leaks must be stopped or repaired upon discovery or within 72 hours of notification by the City of San Diego.

* Bird baths, koi ponds and any ornamental water feature using a re-circulating pump and which does not shoot water into the air are allowed under Level 2. Water fountains which discharge into the air a jet or stream of water are banned under Level 2 restrictions.

However, these fountains may be operated for maintenance purposes. Any water feature that does not re-circulate water is banned. * Use of recycled or non-potable water is required for construction purposes when available.

* Water use from fire hydrants is limited to fire fighting, City meter installation as part of the Fire Hydrant Meter Program, and for public health and safety reasons.

* Construction operations will not use water obtained by a fire hydrant meter for uses other than normal construction activity.

Specific supply reductions to local agencies may vary depending on how much of its total water supply each agency receives from the Water Authority. Urban water use restrictions may vary among local retail agencies. Most local ordinances generally reflect the Water Authority’s model drought response ordinance.

Info from the San Diego County Water Authority.

Here are 19 tips to saving water on your own:

In The Bathroom
1. While waiting for hot water to come through the pipes, catch the cool, clean, water in a bucket or a watering can. You can use it later to water plants, run your garbage disposer, or pour into the toilet bowl to flush. (Can save up to 50 gallons a week per person.)
2. Replace your regular showerheads with low-flow showerheads. (Can save up to 230 gallons a week.)
3. Keep your showers down to five minutes or less using a low-flow showerhead. (Can save up to 75 gallons a week per person.)
4. Turn the water off while lathering-up in the shower. Then turn the water back on to quickly rinse. (Can save up to 75 gallons a week per person.
5. Take shallow baths, no more than 3 inches of water. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week per person.)
6. Replace your older model toilets with new ultra-low-flush models. (Can save up to 350 gallons a week.)
7. Check your toilets for leaks. Drop a dye tablet or a teaspoon of food coloring (avoid red) in the tank. If color appears in the bowl after 15 minutes, you probably need to replace the "flapper" valve. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week for each toilet repaired.)
8. Flush the toilet only when necessary. Never use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. (Can save up to 50 gallons a week.)
9. Never let the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving. (Can save up to 35 gallons a week per person.)

In The Kitchen
10. Hand wash dishes just once a day using the least amount of detergent possible. This will cut down on rinsing. Use a sprayer or short blasts of water to rinse. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week.)
11. If you have a dishwasher, run it only when you have a full load. (Can save up to 30 gallons a week.)
12. Scrape food scraps off dishes in the garbage can or rinse them off with very short blasts of water. (Can save up to 60 gallons a week.)
13. Never use hot, running water to defrost frozen foods. Plan ahead and place frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or use the microwave oven. (Can save up to 50 gallons a week.)
14. Rinse vegetables and fruits in a sink or a pan filled with water instead of under running water. (Can save up to 30 gallons a week.)
15. Run your garbage disposer only on alternate days. (Can save up to 25 gallons a week.)

Around The House
16. Repair all leaky faucets, fixtures and pipes both inside and outside your home. (Can save more than 150 gallons for each leak.)
17. When doing the laundry, never wash less than a full load. (Can save up to 100 gallons a week.)

18. Set lawn mower blades one notch higher since longer grass reduces evaporation. Leave grass clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
19. Mulch, compost and wood chips are available at the Miramar Greenery.

From the City of San Diego's Water Conservation program.

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