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Voluntarily Conserve Water During Drought Emergency
The State of California is in the midst of the drought and one of its driest years in recent history.  Governor Jerry Brown has asked Californians to voluntarily conserve water.  Below is general information about the drought and helpful tips for conserving water around your home.

Cal Water Update - 11/7/14Cal Water

San Mateo’s water supply is provided by Cal Water, an outside agency that provides water to 21 Districts in California.

Cal Water would like to thank their San Mateo customers, who have done a great job reducing their water use. In 2013, the Mid-Peninsula (San Mateo and San Carlos) system’s customer demand was 110 gallons per capita per day (gpcd), which was down 22% from 2004. That is also below their 20% reduction target of 124 gpcd required by the year 2020 per state law. Moreover, since the call for additional conservation in early 2014, their Mid-Peninsula customers have decreased their water use an additional 6%.  With more than 80% of California now experiencing extreme drought conditions, they want to remind their customers about water restrictions currently in place and more ways to help save our precious resource. 

In August 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) adopted a resolution to provide direction to regulated water companies on compliance with the State Water Resources Control Board’s (Board) emergency prohibited water use regulations. The CPUC directed Cal Water to notify customers of the Board’s mandatory, prohibited water uses, which Cal Water did via bill insert or direct mail in late August and early September; establish enforcement procedures; and coordinate with local law enforcement or public agencies on notification of violations. The Board’s regulations include four prohibited water uses and option to use fines of up to $500 per customer violation. The fines are not required but available as a tool for enforcement agencies. These prohibited water uses, plus additional unauthorized water uses for Cal Water customers, are included in Cal Water’s Rule 14.1, which became effective May 1, 2014. 

The four prohibited uses adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board include:

  • Application of water to outdoor landscapes that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures
  • Use of a hose to wash vehicles, except where the hose has a shut-off nozzle
  • Application of water to any hard surface (driveways, sidewalks, asphalt)
  • Use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system


In addition to these prohibited uses, Cal Water has included the following unauthorized water uses in their Rule 14.1 for their customers:

  • Excessive use of water when Cal Water has notified the customer in writing to repair broken or defective plumbing, sprinkler, or watering or irrigation system
  • Use of water for street cleaning with trucks except for initial wash-down for construction purposes if street sweeping is not feasible, or to protect public health and safety
  • Use of water for construction purposes, such as consolidation of backfill, dust control, or other uses unless no other method can be used
  • Use of water to fill or refill decorative lakes or ponds unless necessary to sustain aquatic life
  • Use of water to fill or refill swimming pools
  • Service of water by restaurants except upon request of the patron


Cal Water is committed to helping their customers use water efficiently and comply with these mandatory water use restrictions. While they take an education-first approach, they have established procedures for repeated violations, including the potential use of flow-restricting devices or discontinuance of service. They may also coordinate with law enforcement agencies for further action regarding continued violations.


Cal Water has an industry-leading conservation program, and they offer a range of tools to help their customers reduce their water use, including rebates for high-efficiency devices, high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles at no charge, conservation kits, fact sheets, how-to videos, and local conservation reports. For more information about the drought and conservation programs, please visit their web site at www.calwater.com/drought.

Water Conservation Rebates and Incentive Programs

Learn more about Water Conservation Rebates and Programs available to Cal Water customers.

Interested in transforming your lawn into water-efficient landscaping? Rebates are available to assist you with the cost. Learn more about the Lawn Be Gone program which is available to Cal Water customers.


San Mateo City Hall – 330 West 20th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403

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