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Water Conservation

Learn how to repair and schedule an irrigation system with this online module, courtesy of the City of Plano, TX. (Adobe Flash required)

Drought Information

On April 7, 2017, Governor Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17 terminating the January 17, 2014, Drought State of Emergency for all counties in California except the Counties of Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne. However, the orders and provisions in the prior Executive Order B-37-16, “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life,” remain in full force and effect. Subsequently, the City of San Juan Capistrano City Council rescinded the Stage 2 Water Alert and monthly drought penalties on May 2, 2017. The City extends a sincere thank you to all San Juan Capistrano water customers for their efforts to conserve water.  Although the drought state of emergency has been eliminated, permanent restrictions prohibiting wasteful water practices remain in place. Please refer to Municipal Code, Title 6, Chapter 12 or Water Conservation Urgency Ordinance 1024 for information on the City's water conservation measures.

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.  If you would rather report this online, click HERE and fill out the reporting form for City crews to investigate. Please provide as much information as possible about the event, with specific place and time, to assist crews in locating the problem. Photos are always appreciated, and you can email them to

The following activities or measures are in effect year-round to avoid water waste:

  • Lawn watering and landscape irrigation.

    1. No irrigation of turf (lawn) in street medians.

    2. No irrigation during rain or within 48 hours after rain.

    3. Automatic sprinklers to be set to run before 9AM or after 6PM. No outdoor watering during the day other than for the purpose of installing, repairing, or routine maintenance of the irrigation system.
  • Swimming pools.  Shall not be emptied and refilled except to prevent or repair structural damage or comply with public health regulations.  A variance request is to be submitted to the City with documentation from a pool professional.  All pools and spas shall be equipped with a water recirculation device.
  • 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.  Routinely, monitor and adjust irrigation systems to eliminate overspray.
  • Residential car washing. Using a hose to wash a motor vehicle is prohibited unless the hose is fitted with a shutoff nozzle. As much as possible direct runoff to planted areas.
  • 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.  Use a broom or brush for routine cleaning.
  • Cleaning of structures. Cleaning of structures, using water from a hose including pressure washing, shall be prohibited unless equipped with a shut off nozzle.
  • Leaks. 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 irrigation 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 shall serve drinking water upon request only. Hotel and motel guests shall be given the option to reuse towels and linens rather than having them laundered daily.
  • Lakes, ponds, fountains, and other water features. The operation of any ornamental fountain or similar structure is prohibited unless the water is recirculated.
  • Homeowners Associations. Imposing a fine or assessment on an owner for yard maintenance issues related to under-watered plants and lawns is prohibited.

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 are available in Section 6.12-10 to provide relief from compliance should customers present circumstances that would reasonably preclude them from compliance and the customer is able to present an alternative to satisfy the conservation requirement. Please click for a REQUEST FOR VARIANCE form.  After completing the Variance form, 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 along with supporting, certifiable documentation.


The single largest use of water is outdoor landscape irrigation.  Focus your conservation efforts on outdoor use and replace water thirsty landscapes with a California friendly plant pallet. 

Upgrade old appliances to water-efficient models that save water.


The top tips for saving water are:

Watch the watering schedule! More water is wasted in sprinkler systems than anywhere else.

Check your toilets for leaks! Sneaky plumbing malfunctions can waste hundreds of gallons a day. Replace worn flappers to avoid water loss.

Run the clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full.
Watch the running water – turn off water features unless they recirculate.

Turn water off while brushing teeth and shaving.

Wash vehicles using as little water as possible and use a shut off nozzle.

Repair plumbing and sprinklers promptly; ensure water runoff isn't leaving your yard.

Clean paved surfaces and structures using a broom.

Cover your pool and spa to prevent evaporation.  Pool covers reduce evaporation by 90%, limit windblown debris, and conserve energy.

Turn off the pool automatic fill valve.

Local San Juan Capistrano toilet replacement incentive to replace toilets older than 1993 (inspection required before replacement) – call (949) 234-4400 to make an appointment. Information for this program and paperwork is located HERE.

Regional rebate information: (indoor and outdoor efficiency upgrades)

The newest helpful site is Orange County Storm water program’s “Overwatering is Out” site: lots of helpful tips, and a gnome mascot. To learn easy, practical ways to save water, visit:

California friendly and drought tolerant plants:

Click HERE for a plant catalog of California friendly and drought tolerant plants.









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