Level 1 Drought Watch and Permanent Water Use Restrictions

San Diegans Waste No Water, All Ways. Always.


Level 1 Drought Watch voluntary restrictions are in place. These voluntary restrictions are in addition to permanent mandatory restrictions which apply year-round. A list of the permanent restrictions is located on the bottom half of this page.

Recommended Outdoor Irrigation Limited To No More than Three Days Per Week

The City of San Diego is on Level 1 Drought Watch. Calculations using the state's conservative formula show the San Diego region will have all of the water supplies needed to meet demands even if the region were to experience three additional dry years.

The San Diego County Water Authority and the City of San Diego are taking a regional approach to supply-reliability under the state's regulation and in our continued drought awareness efforts. Although the State of California as a whole is still experiencing a drought, San Diego's water supply has been stabilized through investment in new water resources and its dedication to strong conservation efforts.

The Level 1 Drought Watch includes several water use recommendations, in addition to permanent mandatory restrictions that have been in place since 2011. Permanent restrictions are in place year-round and are designed to prohibit wasteful water use practices.

In light of cyclical drought conditions, it is important to remind San Diegans of the water waste restrictions in effect: San Diego Municipal Code PDF icon §67.3801 and the Governor's Executive Order Number PDF icon B-29-15.

Water conservation is a way of life for all San Diegans.


Level 1 Drought Use Restrictions

The following are voluntary water-use restrictions:

  • Limit watering of landscapes to no more than three days per week.

    • Odd numbered addresses should water Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
    • Even numbered addresses should water Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday.
    • Apartments, condos and businesses should water Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

This provision does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries, nor to the irrigation of golf course greens and tees. 

  • Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or hand held container or a garden hose sprinkler system on a timer to water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs located on residential and commercial properties that are not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system.
  • The washing of mobile equipment is permitted only before 10:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. with a hand-held container or a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle for quick rinses except where health, safety and welfare of the public are contingent upon frequent vehicle cleanings.  Boats and boat engines are permitted to be washed down after use.

Permanent Mandatory Restrictions

The City of San Diego has had many permanent mandatory water use restrictions in place since 2011 and the State has recently implemented permanent restrictions as well.

These restrictions are designed to promote water conservation as a permanent way of life in San Diego.

  • A customer shall not allow potable water to irrigate outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff, such that, water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures.
  • Customers shall repair or stop all water leaks upon discovery or within seventy-two hours of notification by the City of San Diego.
  • Customers shall not wash down sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, tennis courts, or other paved areas without using a power washer or a hose with a shutoff nozzle.  Washing any paved areas is only allowed to alleviate immediate safety or sanitation hazards.  Water shall be collected and prevented from leaving the property and entering the municipal separate storm sewer system.
  • Customers shall not overfill swimming pools and spas.
  • Customers shall not use non-recirculating potable water in ornamental fountains or cascading fountains.
  • Customers shall not use a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use.
  • Single pass-through cooling systems, as part of water service connections, shall be prohibited after the effective date of this section. Non-recirculating systems in all conveyer car wash and commercial laundry systems shall be prohibited after the effective date of this section.
  • The serving of drinking water other than upon request in eating or drinking establishments, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, cafes, cafeterias, bars, or other public places where food or drink are served and/or purchased is prohibited.
  • To promote water conservation, operators of hotels and motels shall provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily. The hotel or motel shall prominently display notice of this option in each guestroom using clear and easily understood language.
  • Potted plants, non-commercial vegetable gardens and fruit trees, residential and commercial landscapes, including golf courses, parks, school grounds and recreation fields, may only be watered before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
  • The irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians shall be prohibited.
  • The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall shall be prohibited.

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.

San Diego residents are encouraged to report water waste by:  calling the Water Waste Hotline and leaving a voicemail at (619) 533-5271 (select option 2) with the address and description of the violation; emailing [email protected]; or submitting complaints via the Waste No Water smartphone app.  Photo and video submission of violations are encouraged.