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Water Conservation

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 Subsequently, the City of San Juan Capistrano City Council rescinded the Stage 2 Water Alert and monthly drought penalties on May 2, 2017.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  for information on the City's water conservation measures.

On May 31, 2018, Governor Brown signed into law two new bills, Senate Bill 606 (Hertzberg) and Assembly Bill 1668 (Friedman), that will require urban water providers throughout California to set new permanent water use targets, as well as implementing and enforcing new water use requirements. While there are no immediate impacts from these new laws, read the Fact Sheet on Long-Term Conservation Legislation including Frequently Asked Questions which helps to identify the framework that will be used in implementing these two laws.

To report water waste, broken pipes, hydrants, manhole covers, or sprinklers or any water or sewer emergency after hours please call the Utilities Department 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 a specific place and time, this will assist crews in locating the problem quickly. 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.  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 of being notified, initiate repairs 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, 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.


Make water conservation a way of life! Californians on average use 30-60% of their water outdoors. Focus water-efficiency efforts to save water by managing your landscape with such things as drought resistant plants, sustainable gardening practices and careful application of irrigation water.

Take advantage of the generous REBATES available to upgrade appliances to water-efficient models. Save water and money!

The top tips for saving water are:

Watch the watering schedule! More water is wasted in sprinkler systems than anywhere else. Water your lawn 1 to 2 days a week and save up to 840 gallons per week.

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. Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes and save up to 50 gallons per week.
Watch the running water – turn off water features unless they recirculate.

Turn water off while brushing teeth and shaving and save up to 2.5 gallons per minute.

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 and save up to 20 gallons per day.

Clean paved surfaces and structures using a broom.

Pool covers reduce evaporation by 90%, limit windblown debris, and conserve energy. Cover your pool and spa and save up to 281 gallons per week.

Turn off the pool automatic fill valve.

More information on saving water can be found HERE.


NEW: FLYERWaterwise Community Center 2020 Online Workshops

NEWTransforming your yard from grass to gorgeous takes a little know-how and these free online webinars help you get it done right. The free online webinar sessions run weekly throughout the 2020 summer:

  • California Friendly Native Plant Landscapes
  • Turf Removal and Garden Transformations

Click HERE for a FREE Virtual California Native Friendly/Native Plant Landscape Training & Turf Removal/Garden Transformation Workshop. Contact Ed Hooper, City of San Juan Conservation, should you have additional questions, at 949-487-4304 or email

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)

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.

Click HERE to explore beautiful, sustainable, climate-appropriate, drought-tolerant plants, trees, and grass that thrive in Orange County and add your favorite plants to a private list that you can print and take to your favorite nursery!








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