Drought Information and Resources
Drought Alert: Mandatory Water Use Restrictions
The Drought Alert restrictions are in addition to permanent mandatory restrictions in place. Permanent restrictions are listed at the bottom half of this page.
Outdoor Irrigation Limited To Two Days Per Week
On July 1, 2015, the City’s mandatory watering restrictions were strengthened to limit customers to watering their outdoor landscaping for a maximum of 2 days a week, 5 minutes per day, if using a standard sprinkler system. The 5-minutes-per-day time limit does NOT apply to landscape irrigation systems using water-efficient devices or techniques, including drip and micro-irrigation systems, stream rotor sprinklers and hand watering. However, these water-efficient systems and techniques must still follow the two-day-per-week schedule.
With the state mandate that the City of San Diego reduce its water usage by a collective 16%, the quickest and most effective way to achieve this reduction is through reducing outdoor irrigation, which accounts for more than 50% of residential water use.
Enforced Watering Schedule
The City of San Diego is enforcing the watering schedule of 2 times per week, for 5 minutes per day (for standard sprinkler systems), as illustrated below:
Water at the Right Time of DayWater only after 6 pm and before 10 am.
NOTE: This time-of-day schedule applies to ALL irrigation devices and techiques (i.e. drip irrigation, hand watering, etc.)
Additional Drought Alert Restrictions
- Stop operation of ornamental fountains, except to the extent needed for maintenance purposes.
- Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or timed sprinkler system to water landscaped areas.
- Irrigation is not permitted during a rain event or for at least 48 hours following a rain event.
- The washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, airplanes and other types of transportation equipment is only allowed between 6 pm-10 am, and water shall not enter the storm drain.
- NOTE: Mobile equipment washings are exempt from these regulations where the health, safety and welfare of the public are contingent upon frequent vehicle cleanings, such as garbage trucks and vehicles to transport food products, livestock and perishables.
- Washing is permitted at any time at a commercial car wash.
- Boats and boat engines are permitted to be washed down after use.
- Use recycled or non-potable water for construction purposes when available
- Use of water from fire hydrants will be limited to fire fighting, as well as meter installation by the Public Utilities Department as part of its Fire Hydrant Meter Program, and related activities necessary to maintain the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of San Diego.
- Construction operations receiving water from a fire hydrant or water truck will not use water beyond normal activities.
- Irrigation is permitted any day at any time as follows:
- As required by a landscape permit.
- For erosion control.
- For establishment, repair or renovation of public use fields for schools and parks.
- For landscape establishment following a disaster.
Permanent Mandatory Restrictions
Permanent mandatory restrictions have been in place since 2011, and apply year-around, whether the City is in a drought or not. These restrictions are designed to promote water conservation as a permanent way of life in San Diego.
- City of San Diego water customers must prohibit excessive irrigation and must immediately correct leaks in their private water systems. The City's regulations state that customers "shall not allow water to leave their property due to drainage onto adjacent properties or public or private roadways or streets or gutters due to excessive irrigation and/or uncorrected leaks."
- Customers shall repair or stop all water leaks upon discovery or within 72 hours of notification by the City of San Diego.
- Customers cannot use a running hose to wash down hardscapes (sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, buildings, awnings, windows, tennis courts, patios or other hard surface areas) for any reason. A power washer or hose with a shutoff nozzle is allowed to wash down these surfaces, but ONLY to alleviate immediate safety or sanitation hazards, and all wash water must be prevented from entering the storm drain system (curb gutters, streets, alleys, and inlets).
- Overfilling of swimming pools and spas is strictly prohibited.
- All decorative and cascading water fountains must use a recirculating pump.
- Residents washing vehicles (automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, RVs) must implement procedures to conserve water and prevent excessive runoff, such as:
- Washing vehicles at a commercial car wash.
- Washing vehicles on a lawn or pervious surface or directing water flow to a lawn or pervious area.
- Damming wash water for collection and disposal to a pervious area or to the sanitary sewer.
- Using a hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle.
- Using a hand-held water container.
- The City will not provide new water service connections for customers using single pass-through cooling systems.
- All new conveyer car wash and commercial laundry systems connections will be required to employ a recirculating water system.
- Restaurants and other food establishments shall only serve and refill water for patrons upon request.
- Guests in hotels, motels, and other commercial lodging establishments will be provided the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.
These restrictions apply to those whose property lies within the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department's service area. If you receive your water bill from a different agency, please check with that agency regarding any applicable water use restrictions.