San Diego

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Water Conservation

water wise landscaped homeEfficient water use is a way of life in San Diego, and it is important to remember that permanent water use restrictions remain in effect regardless of the drought status. In addition to efficient water use practices, the City has a number of resources available to help residents and businesses reduce water consumption.

Water Conservation Tips

These simple and effective tips can help you save water and money.


A number of rebates are available to San Diegans to help make water saving options more affordable.

  • PDF icon Graywater Systems - Using graywater is an excellent way to recycle and conserve water.
  • PDF icon Rain Barrels are used to capture rainwater from hard surfaces such as rooftops to help prevent pollution in our storm drain system as well as conserve water for irrigation. 
  • PDF icon Rain Gutters capture rainwater from roof tops and divert it to rain barrels or pervious landscape which naturally filters runoff, helping to decrease the amount of pollutants in our bays, oceans and waterways.
  • PDF icon Downspout Redirects are devices that redirect rainwater from our storm drains to a pervious landscaped area that naturally filters runoff, helping to decrease the amount of pollutants in our bays, ocean and waterways.
  • Landscape Transformation Program – Lawns are estimated to require 44 gallons of water per square foot per year! The City is offering a $1.25 per square foot rebate for all lawns that are converted.  
  • Weather-Based Irrigation Controller Systems - Use smart technology to optimize the use of water needed for irrigation. (Metropolitan Water District of Southern California)
  • SoCal Water$mart - A variety of rebates available to Southern California residents. (Metropolitan Water District of Southern California)
  • Free Mulch from Miramar Greenery - Mulch is a reliable, cost-effective product for water retention, erosion control and weed suppression. Free mulch is available to San Diego residents with proof of residency. Wood chips and compost are also available for a fee. (Environmental Services Department)
  • Pressure Reducing Valve - Rebates for water pressure reducing valves are no longer offered by the City. 

Water Use Restrictions

The City has year-round city and state permanent mandatory water restrictions in place. Review them to make sure you're in compliance.

Enforcement and Penalties

The City enforces the the permanent water use restrictions. Staff educates the public, works with residents and businesses, and issues Warning Notifications, Notices of Violation and Administrative Citations.

Water Survey Programs

Free residential survey programs are available to property owners and tenants. In addition, there are a number of water survey programs available for commercial, institutional and industrial businesses.

Plumbing Retrofit Upon Re-Sale Ordinance

The San Diego Municipal Code requires that all buildings, prior to a change in property ownership, be certified as having water-conserving plumbing fixtures in place.

Get It Done Smartphone App

The City's Get It Done App, available for iPhones and Androids, allows users to quickly and easily report water waste.

Other Water Use Resources

Learn about the many other water savings options are available from other agencies.