City Hall, Sacramento, CA

Proposed Water Conservation Ordinance Offers Options

Item to be discussed at City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 15 meeting.

On August 15, City Council will consider ending the current emergency restrictions on watering and at the same time making long-term conservation a way of life in the City of Sacramento.

The City of Sacramento looks to be a leader in efficiency given new urban water use efficiency targets which may soon be implemented by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The proposed ordinance, which still limits watering to only two days per week, has removed some restrictions and provides flexibility to homeowners on how they save water.

If adopted by Council on Aug. 15, the City will make the following allowances:

  • Landscape areas that use a soaker hose, are on a drip irrigation system or that you hand water are exempt.
  • Edible garden areas and potted plants are exempt.
  • New landscapes are exempt from day and time restrictions for 21 days after installation.
  • Car washing is exempt from day and time restriction as long as a shut off nozzle is being used.
  • Anytime there is a heatwave (two or more days of temperatures of 100 degrees or more) watering can be done at any time.
  • Smart control irrigation systems that have been validated by Department of Utilities staff are exempt.
  • The first violation will now just be a warning. A second violation in a 12-month period would result in a $50 fine. Customers can get that fine waived by participating in a water-wise house call or one of the conservation incentive programs.

Worried that a two-day watering schedule is not enough? Lawn watering consumes 65 percent of a household’s potable water use and is usually overwatered. Less frequent, deeper watering patterns actually encourage landscapes (especially turf) to develop deeper roots and become more drought resilient.

Trees are an important part of the identity of the City of Sacramento, and residents are encouraged to maintain the health of trees on their property by hand watering, or using a soaker hose outside of the of the two-day schedule, as needed.

A great way to test if your landscape needs watering is to stick an eight-inch screwdriver into the ground and if you can push it more than three inches into the ground you don’t need to water.

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