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Drought Updates
State to Require Mandatory Conservation - April 1, 2015

The State of California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record. Governor Brown issued an executive order on April 1, 2015 requiring a statewide mandatory reduction of 25% in potable, urban water use compared to 2013 (by end of February 2016). The Governor’s executive order requires the State Water Resources Control Board, Department of Water Resources, and California Public Utilities Commission to enact new regulations to achieve the 25% statewide reduction compared to 2013. These regulations are still in the process of being developed and are expected to be adopted in early May. San Mateo’s water supply is provided by Cal Water, an outside agency that provides water to 21 Districts in California. Cal Water will develop a compliance plan to meet these regulations.

Existing Regulations

On March 17, 2015, the State Water Resources Board approved expanded restrictions on water use. The new rules that were adopted are as follows:

  • Restaurants and bars are prohibited from serving water without a customer request.
  • Hotels and motels are required to offer guests the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily.
  • Water agencies are required to inform customers when leaks are detected on customer property.
  • Water agencies that don’t already limit outdoor watering to certain days of the week are required to restrict customers’ outdoor watering to two days a week.
  • Homes and businesses are prohibited from watering when it’s raining or within two days of rain.

The following uses of water continue to be prohibited:

  • Use of water that results in runoff to gutters or streets.
  • Washing of vehicles without use of a shut-off nozzle.
  • Washing hard-surfaced areas (for example, driveways and sidewalks).
  • Filling decorative lakes or ponds.
  • Decorative fountains that do not use a recirculation system.
  • Filling of swimming pools.


Water Conservation Rebates and Incentive Programs

To help customers reduce their water use now, consistent with the Governor’s order, Cal Water currently offers rebates on high-efficiency devices, smart irrigation controller rebates, high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles at no charge, conservation kits, local conservation reports, and educational resources.  For more information about available conservation programs, please visit the Cal Water web site at Please note that the City of San Mateo is part of their Bayshore Water District.

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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