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Drought watch: Sacramento needs to know the drought reduction rules

We now know that Sacramento tops the list of California cities with un-metered water supplies, so do residents even know the official rules or the best ways to lower water usage? Lawn watering and wasteful outdoor use is the most obvious target, but many residents are unaware of the official drought conservation measures. According to a March 25 Sacramento Bee article, residents face citations and possible fines if they water lawns, wash cars and irrigate gardens on the wrong days of the week, so the rules are listed below.

Goose at Negro Bar State Park, California

Sacramento water enforcement officer sweeps and over 3,000 anonymous reports indicate that the word is not gotten to all homeowners and house renters. Last Thursday, enforcers caught over 350 violations of the lawn sprinkler rule alone.

Many violators simply appeared to be unaware of the rules, but once they were made aware, they did not have any repeat violations. First time offenders are usually not fined, but repeat offenses can be costly.

The call for reducing our water usage relies on an honor system and establishes a goal of cutting the load by 20 to 30 percent. A March 5 Sacramento city government press release announced that the city achieved a 12 percent reduction in February. The city consumed 58 million gallons of water per day last month. For the past two years, the average was 66 million gallons of water per day.


If the address ends in an odd number (1,3,5,7,9) residents may water on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

If the address ends in an even number (0,2,4,6,8) residents may water on Wednesdays and Sundays.

No one may water on Monday, Thursdays or Fridays.

After daylight savings time, car washing and lawn watering is allowed on Saturday or Sunday.

Turn sprinklers off while it is raining. Leave them off for several days after it rains.

Car washing is allowed on lawn watering days as long as an automatic shut off hose nozzle is used.

During dry months, water before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m.

But how can apartment dwellers and those without lawns contribute to water reduction? Where are all of the water reducing tips? A call to Sacramento city water hotline resulted in oral instructions about lawn watering. A live representative sent a link to the Department of Utilities web page where residents can find more tips and the latest official information:

Aerators are not hard to install on bathroom (and kitchen) faucets.

Wait until you have a full load when doing laundry.

Shorten your time in the shower. Decreasing shower time from 10 minutes to five minutes will make a big impact.

Fix leaky toilets (and other leaks.)

To join those who have been active in reporting business and residential watering violations, call the City of Sacramento at 311 or (916) 264-5011 or visit the Department of Utilities web page.

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