Sacramento City Council Mandates Water Use Reductions

Drought conditions on the American River

Sacramento City Council members last night voted to require water customers to reduce their water use by 20 percent.  The reductions are expected to be largely achieved through, increased enforcement of the City’s conservation ordinance, reduced watering days in the spring and summer, enhanced water conservation measures at City facilities, and an enhanced public education campaign.

While the City is not facing an immediate water supply emergency, Department of Utilities staff asked the City Council to require cutbacks due to historically low-levels in Folsom Reservoir, a weather forecast that is predicting continued dry conditions, and concern for the American River and its fisheries.

An average single family household uses approximately 417 gallons per day. A 20 percent reduction would be approximately 84 gallons of water per day. Customers can achieve this savings by adopting small changes in their everyday routines that can add up to big savings. These activities include:

  • Complying with the City’s current one-day-a-week watering rule, in effect until Daylight Saving Time, March 9, 2014 (saves more than 500 gallons of water per day for every day the water is turned off);
  • Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving (saves approximately 10 gallons per day);
  • Wash only full loads of clothes (saves 15-45 gallons per load );
  • Take five minute showers instead of 10 minute showers  (saves 12.5 gallons with a water efficient  showerhead (2.5 gallons per minute));
  • Fix leaky toilets (saves 30-50 gallons per day per toilet);
  • Fix leaky faucets (saves 15-20 gallons per day per leak);
  • Install a high-efficiency WaterSense-labeled toilet (1.28 gallons per flush) (saves 19 gallons per person per day).

The City will be enforcing the 20 percent water use reduction through the enforcement of its existing water conservation ordinance which specifies watering days and times based on the time of year, with penalty amounts doubled while the water shortage remains in effect. The City offers rebates for high-efficiency toilets and select high-efficiency clothes washers, as well as free Water Wise House Calls to help customers find ways to save water in and around their property. For more information on these services, please visit or call 311 or 916-264-5011.

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