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Water Conservation
State Regulations Update - Through January 2017

Water Conservation Regulations for the City of San Mateo

The State Water Resources Control Board (State) has extended its mandatory water-use reductions and restrictions through January 2017.  The State will provide more information on upcoming reduction requirements and water budgets in late June 2016.  

The City of San Mateo’s water supply is provided by Cal Water, a private water supplier that provides water to 21 districts in California. Cal Water is responsible for developing and enforcing the compliance plan to meet the State regulations. Cal Water filed its draft Schedule 14.1 with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on April 28, 2015. Cal Water’s Schedule 14.1, which went into effect on June 1, 2015, provides for household and business water budgets and associated enforcement measures to reduce water use in its districts. 

The previous reductions that the State issued for the Cal Water Bayshore District, which includes the City of San Mateo, required a 16 percent reduction in water use. This mandatory reduction level continues to be in effect. As of December 2015, San Mateo customers far exceeded the State mandate of a 16% reduction - achieving a 25.3% cumulative savings from June to December 2015 from June to December 2013.

Prohibited Uses of Water

Pursuant to a resolution adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission on April 9, 2015, and the State Water Resources Control Board in March 2015, Cal Water wants to ensure our customers are aware of the following prohibited uses of water:

  • Applying water to outdoor landscapes that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures                                                                          
  • Using a hose to wash motor vehicles unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use
  • Applying water to driveways and sidewalks
  • Using water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system
  • Applying water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall 
  • Using potable water to irrigate outside of new construction without drip or microspray system
  • Using potable water on street medians
  • Filling or refilling ornamental lakes or ponds except to sustain existing aquatic life

In addition, the following water conservation measures are required:

  • Customers must fix leaks within their control within five business days of notification
  • Hotels and motels operators must provide an option to not have towels or linens laundered daily during a guest's stay, and must provide clear notice of the option in easy-to-understand language 
  • Restaurants and other seating and drinking establishments may only serve drinking water upon request

Cal Water’s Schedule 14.1 Water Shortage Contingency Plan implements water waste penalties and water budgets for our customers. These reductions and water use restrictions are necessary to meet Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order to reduce urban water use during this historic drought.

In accordance with Schedule 14.1, Cal Water will enforce the below outdoor irrigation schedules.

  • Properties with even street addresses may water on Tuesdays and Fridays only
  • Properties with odd street addresses may water on Mondays and Thursdays only
  • Watering may occur only in the evening and early morning and is prohibited between 8am and 6pm
  • Drip systems, micro spray, and hand watering are exempted

As part of the Stage 2 water restrictions, Cal Water established a water budget for each customer and a drought surcharge was charged for each unit of water used over the established budget.  Due to the continuation of mandatory water-use reductions by the State Water Resources Control Board, water budgets will be extended.

The water budget is based on the customer’s water use history through 2013. However, a district average will be used as a default if customers did not occupy the property in 2013. Every home gets a minimum monthly allotment of water of 4,488 gallons per month to ensure that basic health and safety needs can be met. If the occupancy of the house has changed, such as additional family members moving in, customers can contact Cal Water to get their allocation adjusted at (844) 726-8579. Customers that use less than the allotted water can bank that savings for future use for months when they might go over their allowed allotment. Banking will roll over from previous months. Water budgets for customers are available at usage.calwater.com.

Cal Water’s Schedule 14.1 establishes a series of tiered fines for water wasters. For the Stage 2 drought regulations, a first violation will receive a written notice and the customer will be provided with a real-time water measurement device to allow them to monitor their use. The fine for a second violation will be $50 and the fine for a third violation will be $100. Customers with a fourth violation may have a flow restricting device placed on their service line. Egregious violations will immediately result in a flow-restricting device being installed on the service line. Cal Water has established a complaint form on their website to submit information about observed water waste. Please note that San Mateo is in the Bayshore Water District when reporting a complaint.

For more information on Water Conservation Regulations, visit the Cal Water Drought Resources Web Page.
Water Conservation Rebates and Incentive Programs

Cal Water Rebates and Services

To help customers reduce their water use, consistent with the Governor’s order, Cal Water is offering a multitude of rebates and services to Cal Water customers. Residential users have the ability to participate in the following residential programs:

  •          Complementary sprinkler nozzles
  •          High-efficiency toilet rebates and delivery program
  •          High-efficiency clothes washer rebates
  •          Smart Irrigation Controller rebates
  •          Water Use Efficiency Evaluation program
  •          Home water use reports
  •          Conservation kits

Likewise, commercial customers of Cal Water have access to the following conservation commercial programs:

  •          Complementary sprinkler nozzles
  •          High-efficiency toilet and urinal rebates
  •          High-efficiency clothes washer rebates
  •          Smart Irrigation Controller rebates
  •          Rotating nozzle rebates
  •          Spray Body with Integrated Pressure Regulation and Check Valve rebates

Rebates for both residential and commercial Cal Water customers are available for the Turf Replacement Rebate Program, aimed at converting water intensive lawns to water efficient landscapes.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, available to residents and businesses in San Mateo, allow for both energy efficient and water reducing projects to become financially viable. Reference the Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing for Residents and Businesses section on our Energy page for information on providers within the city.

More information about available conservation programs is available at the Cal Water Conservation website.

2016 Carwash Rebate Program
Every time you wash your car in the driveway or street, contaminants such as oil, grease, metals, dirt and soap can flow into storm drains.  These storm drains discharge directly into our local creeks, the San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean, polluting our environment. 

Take your car to a commercial car wash to prevent pollution and save up to 150 gallons of water per car wash!

San Mateo County Water Pollution Prevention Program is offering residents of San Mateo County a 20% off coupon to 11 participating eco-friendly car washes throughout the County.  To sign up, text "carwash" to 38470 or sign up on www.flowstobay.org/carwash.

Dates:  May 1 - August 31, 2016

Get Coupon

2016-17 Rain Barrel Rebate Program
Did you know one inch of rain can turn into 625 gallons of water?  Capture every drop with a rain barrel and get a rebate up to $100! 

Harvesting rainwater with the help of a rain barrel is one of the simplest ways to lighten your water footprint, fight pollution, and prevent flooding.  San Mateo residents who buy and install qualifying rain barrels can collect rebates of up to $100 per barrel. 

Visit www.flowstobay.org/rainbarrel for rebate information, plus tips on installation and keeping your rain barrel ship-shape.

  June 2016 - tbd 2017

Water Pollution Prevention - Dog Waste Bag Giveaway
The San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program is giving away FREE dog waste bag canisters to County residents to help make it easier.  Picking up after your pup keeps our neighborhoods clean and our creeks, ocean and Bay free of harmful bacteria. 

Visit www.flowstobay.org/petwaste for you dog waste bag canister.

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

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