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Waste No Water Information and Resources

Enforcement and Penalties

San Diegans Waste No Water Wasting Water is not an Option

Recent Changes to the City's Emergency Water Regulations have established new restrictions on water use. In addition, the enforcement and penalty process for these restrictions has been clarified.

All water waste is prohibited in Section 67.3803 of the San Diego Municipal Code. Wasting water is illegal at all times, even when no Drought Response Levels are in effect. Any violations of the water use restrictions associated with Drought Response Levels 1-4 (SDMC Sections 67.3805- 67.3808 (PDF: 46K)) are also treated as water waste. The City may penalize those who continue to waste water with an escalating series of penalties up to and including shutting off water service. When customers continue to waste water after being contacted by the Public Utilities Department's Conservation staff, the City's Code Enforcement Section can step in.

Should a customer refuse to stop over-watering, fail to repair a leak or continue other water waste, the Code Enforcement Officer or Water Waste Investigator will fashion an appropriate response.

As with any violation of the San Diego Municipal Code, Code Enforcement Officers have a variety of remedies to help ensure compliance. These remedies always begin with education regarding the restrictions and information about resources available from the City to assist in complying with regulations. The remedies also include an escalating series of remedies, including:

  • Warning letter;
  • Administrative Citations ($100, $250, $500, $750, and $1,000);
  • Notice of Violation (Civil Penalties up to $2,500 per day per violation);
  • Referral to the City Attorney for Civil or Criminal prosecution;
  • Shut off water service

The decision to terminate Water Service is not taken lightly and will occur when other enforcement measures have not been effective. The City will consider all of the following as part of its decision regarding appropriate remedies to employ:

  • Drought Response Level in effect;
  • Prior enforcement remedies applied;
  • Public health and safety;
  • Amount of water being used in violation;
  • Impact of the violation