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Public Works

San Diegans Urged to Conserve as City Implements New Water Use Restrictions

Sprinklers on lawn

The City of San Diego is implementing more stringent water restrictions for all water customers following a statewide order from Gov. Gavin Newsom. At the governor’s direction, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency water conservation regulation calling on local water agencies to take appropriate action that will conserve water throughout California. The Level 2 actions being implemented step up those water conservation rules under the City’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan.  

Level 2 water restrictions include the following actions for all City of San Diego water customers:

  • Areas with no irrigation system must use a hand-held hose with a shutoff nozzle, hand-held container or a garden hose sprinkler system on a timer. 
  • Irrigation is prohibited during and within 48 hours of a rain event. 
  • Landscape irrigation is limited to no more than three days per week before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. This does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries, nor to the irrigation of golf course greens and trees. 
  • Use of recycled or non-potable water, when available, is required for construction purposes. 
  • Washing of vehicles at residences is prohibited. Washing is still permitted at commercial car washes.

“We are asking San Diegans to take these steps now, so we can help avoid a more dire situation in the near future,” said Juan Guerreiro, Director of the City’s Public Utilities Department. “Water is a precious resource and we must use our water wisely. We hope San Diegans will take the new restrictions to heart and take advantage of the range of rebates and water saving tips offered.” 

The statewide emergency regulation will remain in effect for one year. To assist residents and businesses with saving water, the City administers a variety of rebates for turf replacement, irrigation control systems, rain barrels and gutters, gray water systems and many other options. Also, the City provides many tips that can help customers use less water both inside their homes and in their yards.  

These new water restrictions also apply to City facilities and properties. The City is currently working with each individual City department to implement these conservation efforts. To date, the City has reduced its water use at municipal facilities by changing landscape to hardscapes and drought resistant plantings, and incorporating water saving devices in new and renovated buildings, like libraries and fire stations. 

Most of the City’s water is purchased from the San Diego County Water Authority (CWA). Although CWA has determined that the region’s water supply is currently stable, the dire drought in Northern California and throughout the West requires all water customers to help reduce water use.  

To reduce its need for imported water, the City is developing drought-proof local supplies by constructing the Pure Water Program facilities that will provide San Diego with nearly 50% of its drinking water by 2035. 

Anyone who sees water waste can submit a report on the City’s Get It Done app, call 619-533-5271 or email More information about the Level 2 water restrictions, as well as rebates and water saving tips, is available at