Proposed Water Restrictions

As the record-setting drought continues, steps are being taken to propose water restrictions aimed at getting California through this difficult time. California’s government hasn’t previously imposed such restrictions on a statewide level; in the 1976-1977 and 1987-1992 droughts, the restrictions were at the local level only. The state is considering these restrictions in light of a report that shows water usage has increased by one percent over last year, despite the drought.

Up until now, most of Southern California has been free of restriction due to water reserves at Lake Mead and other locations. However, those are expected to evaporate yet this year.

The restrictions target outdoor water use as it takes up a huge amount of the water available for cities and suburbs. No new restrictions have been issued on indoor water use and businesses have mostly been spared. If approved, the restrictions will be put into place on August first.

How will the restrictions impact you? Read on:

Prohibited Activities

The following activities are prohibited, either completely, or unless certain conditions have been met.

  • Drinking water may no longer be used for fountains or decorative water features unless you recirculate the water.
  • Driveway, parking lot, building exterior and other hard surfaces may no longer be washed at any time.
  • Landscape and lawn watering is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and such watering may only be done twice per week.
  • All landscape watering that causes runoff to adjacent property, sidewalks, streets and other areas is prohibited.
  • Watering of golf courses, parks and schools is permitted only between sunset and sunrise.
  • Car washing using constantly running water is prohibited at all times. You can use buckets to wash and a hose with a shut-off nozzle is allowed for rinsing only.
  • Commercial nursery irrigation is permitted only between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Restaurants may only serve water upon request.


The penalties for violating the water restrictions are severe and enforcement is mandatory. Water agencies must put their water-shortage contingency plans into action, requiring mandatory restrictions on outdoor use, if they have not already done so. Agencies that do not have such a plan are allowed thirty days to put a plan into place restricting outdoor irrigation to not more than two days per week or put other mandatory acts into place to conserve the same amount of water that the two-day restriction would save. Any public employee with the ability to enforce laws can write tickets for water restriction violations.


While most cities have a sliding scale fine system starting with a warning and progressing to steadily increasing fines for repeat violations, the State’s decision would allow them to punish violations with fines of up to $500 per day of the violation. Non-compliant water suppliers face even stiffer fines of up to $10,000 per day of the violation.

Source: State of California; Associated Press



It’s important to make your watering count, given that water restrictions are upon us. Here are some basics to remember:

  • Water deeply and occasionally instead of shallow and often
  • Do it in the early morning
  • Focus on watering the soil, not the leaves
  • Soak your containers/move them to shade
  • Soak your compost heap and shade it to make the moisture last longer.

It’s crucial that you inspect your irrigation system. Replace valves and drip emitters, flush filters, put a new backup battery in your timer system and check for leaks. If your system is outdated, call us at Hydro-Scape to learn about our water-saving irrigation systems.