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Water Conservation
State Regulations Update - February 2016

Water Conservation Regulations for the City of San Mateo

On February 2, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board voted to extend the current drought-related water use restrictions through October 2016.  The State will decide whether to modify these regulations after the April 1 snowpack assessment and evaluation of water supply conditions and make adjustments to water-use reduction requirements in areas that meet certain criteria based on population growth and climate.

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.

Mandatory Water Restrictions

Cal Water’s Schedule 14.1 lays out water restrictions associated with various stages of a drought emergency. Stage 2 restrictions went into effect on June 1, 2015 and include the following prohibited uses of potable water:

  • The application of water to 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.
  • The use of a hose that dispenses 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.
  • The application of water to driveways and sidewalks.
  • The use of water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system.
  • The application of water to outdoor landscapes during and within forty-eight (48) hours after measurable rainfall.
  • 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.
  • Using potable water to irrigate outside of new construction without drip or micro-spray systems.
  • Filling of decorative lakes or ponds except to sustain existing aquatic life.
  • Filling or refilling of swimming pools except to maintain required operating levels.

In addition, the following water conservation measures are required:    

  • Hotels and motels are required to offer guests the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily.
  • Outdoor watering is limited to two days per week.

In accordance with the regulations above, Cal Water will enforce the following outdoor irrigation schedule:

  • 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

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.

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

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