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Water Conservation

The City is currently at a Stage 2 Water Alert, which requires 10% water conservation compared to your 2013 baseline. Although 2016 has seen improvement in water supplies, the drought is not over in California. The local groundwater basin is far from full and water efficiency remains critical because it is not known what the next winter will bring in terms of precipitation. By direction of the City Council on June 21 , 2016, the City of San Juan Capistrano has advised the SWRCB that the City would support the countywide 10% conservation measure in being vigilant and prudent about how we use water as well as continue to conserve to accommodate growth assumptions. The State and City encourage water users to continue conservation as a way of life.

The State continues to track our conservation progress from June 2015. The State water board has a Water Conservation portal offering statewide data to the public. You may visit the State website here.

With the declaration of Stage 2 Water Shortage Alert, the following is a summary of all mandatory water conservation measures that are now in effect, including those that are already in place as year-round water waste prohibitions: Click here for a list in PDF format.

Lawn watering and landscape irrigation

  1. Two day per week maximum for irrigation. Assigned days of the week are:
    -Residential addresses that end in an ODD number - Monday and Thursday
    -Residential addresses that end in an EVEN number - Wednesday and Saturday
    -All others including commercial and landscape - Tuesday and Friday
  2. No irrigation or of turf (lawn) in street medians.
  3. No irrigation during rain or within 48 hours after rain.
  4. Automatic sprinklers should be set to run on the designated days before 9AM or after 6PM

Daytime Irrigation Exceptions -

**Note** assigned days still apply. These are exceptions for outside the time of day restriction.

  • Repairs or routine maintenance
  • Drip, bubbler, soaker irrigation hardware or emitters
  • By hand, using a bucket
  • By hand using a hose with an automatic shutoff nozzle
  • With a hose-end sprinkler with a radius of not more than ten (10) feet
  • No option above should cause overspray or runoff
  • Agriculture/Nurseries. All non-essential water use shall cease. "Non-essential water use" shall mean the application or usage of water for functions or additional activities which do not have any health or safety impacts, are not required by regulation, and are not part of the core function or business process at a site.
  • Runoff to street. Runoff to the street is prohibited. This includes water from any hose, pipe, valve, faucet, sprinkler, or irrigation device into any storm water drainage system, drain, gutter or street.
  • Residential car washing. All non-essential water use for vehicle washing shall cease. Using a hose to wash a motor vehicle is prohibited unless the hose is fitted with a shutoff nozzle.
  • Car washes. All non-essential water use shall cease. "Non-essential water use" shall mean the application or usage of water for functions or additional activities which do not have any health or safety impacts, are not required by regulation, and are not part of the core function or business process at a site. This would include but not be limited to uses such as the watering of planters and landscape at a car wash, the washing of cars on display at a car dealer, and other activities that a reasonable person would concur will reduce extra use of water, while not affecting a given enterprise in a fundamental way.  Pavement/surface washing. Water shall not be used to wash down sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, tennis courts, patios or other paved areas except to alleviate immediate fire or sanitation hazards.
  • Cleaning of structures. Cleaning of structures, using water from a hose, shall be prohibited.
  • Leaks. All water leaks shall be repaired immediately. Any owner, manager, or person responsible for the day-to-day operation of any premises shall within twenty four (24) hours after such person has been notified of leaks, breaks, or defects, initiate steps to repair any leaking, broken or defective water pipes, faucets, plumbing fixtures, other water service appliances, sprinklers, watering or in-igation systems, or distribution systems which cause or may cause water waste or runoff from such, and shall thereafter diligently and promptly pursue such repair work to completion within a reasonable time, as determined by the City Manager or his/her designee, unless a variance is obtained from the City.
  • Restaurants and Hotel/Motel. Restaurants to serve water on request only. All nonessential water use shall cease.
  • Lakes, ponds, fountains. and other water features. The operation of any ornamental fountain or similar structure is prohibited unless the water is recirculated.
  • Commercial/lndustrial use. All non-essential water use shall cease.
  • Monthly Water Use Drought Limit.No Customer shall use potable water in excess of his/her monthly drought limit. Any customer whose potable water use exceeds his/her monthly drought limit for a billing cycle shall receive a notice in his/her water bill that that his/her water use for the billing cycle is a violation of the water conservation regulations then in effect. Any customer whose potable water use for three consecutive billing cycles exceeds his/her monthly drought limit during the three month cumulative period, shall pay a civil administrative penalty for each CCF of water used in excess of his/her three month cumulative monthly drought limit. The penalty shall be in addition to any applicable water service charges imposed for the potable water delivered to the customer. The amount of the penalty shall be equal to 50% of the then current tier 3 rate per CCF billing unit (one billing unit equals 748 gallons).

Exceptions. The prohibited uses of water are not applicable to that use of water necessary for public health and safety or for essential governmental services such as police, fire and, other similar emergency services. Additionally, variance procedures will be available in 6.12-10 that may exempt compliance upon the requisite showing. Please click for a REQUEST FOR VARIANCE form. After filling it out please email to the email address on the form or mail to City Hall at 32400 Paseo Adelanto, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, Attn: Water Conservation Team.

Appeals. To apply for an appeal of drought limit penalties assessed please fill out this

DROUGHT LIMIT PENALTY APPEAL fom and return it to 32400 Paseo Adelanto, san Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, Attn: Water Conservation Team or email a scanned, signed appeal form to .

Reporting Waste

You are in control of your water use! Please use water wisely — be aware of high water use activities in your home and garden. And don't let water leave your property. Help your neighbors, associations and businesses by reporting leaks and overwatering to the owner or manager. If you don't know who to contact, or your concem is ignored, call or e-mail us. Please e-mail us the date, time and location of the occurrence and include your contact information.

To report water waste, broken pipes and sprinklers or any water or sewer emergency after hours please call our duty man at 949-842-2624.

To report water waste during business hours, please call our office at 949-234-4400 or Customer Service at 949/493-1515 so we can get all the details. If you would rather report this online, click HERE and fill out the reporting form so City crews can investigate. Please give us as much information as you can about the event, with specific place and time, so we can locate the problem. Photos are always appreciated, and you can email them to

For any question regarding the drought, current restrictions or water conservation please contact the water conservation team at 949-234-4400 or

Your Home's Valves:

  • There are two valves in your meter box. The City's valve and the customer's valve. Do not operate either of these two valves. Contact the City's Customer Service Division at 949/493-1515 if you want these valves shut off. Otherwise you may incur substantial damages if either of these valves are operated incorrectly. If you need to have your service shut off, or temporarily isolated for any reason, the City will be happy to assist you.
  • House Valve — This valve is located near the hose bib at the front of the residence. Check to make sure it is completely in the "on" position.
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