Water Use Efficiency Requirements

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EMWD's drought status is currently Stage 2 of the
Water Shortage Contingency Plan.


 EMWD's water conservation policies, practices, and procedures include:

These policies were originally adopted in 1991, and have been periodically modified to provide long-term water reliability for existing and future customers. Please click on a link above for summary information. To view these items in their entirety, please click here (these items are included in Title 5, Article 6 of the EMWD Administrative Code).

Water Use Efficiency Requirements

  1. Hosing down driveways and other hard surfaces, is prohibited except for health or sanitary reasons.
  2. Repair water leaks within 48 hours of occurrence.
  3. Irrigate landscape only between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. except when:
    • manually watering;
    • establishing new landscape;
    • temperatures are predicted to fall below freezing;
    • it's for very short periods of time to adjust or repair an irrigation system.
  4. Unattended irrigation systems using potable water are prohibited unless they are limited to no more than fifteen (15) minutes watering per day, per station. This limitation can be extended for:
    • Very low flow drip irrigation systems when no emitter produces more than two (2) gallons of water per hour.
    • Weather based controllers or stream rotor sprinklers that meet a 70% efficiency.
    • Run-off or over watering is not permitted in any case.
  5. Irrigation systems operate efficiently and avoid over watering or watering of hardscape and the resulting runoff.
  6. Excessive water flow or runoff is prohibited.
  7. Decorative fountains must be equipped with a recycling system.
  8. Allowing water to run while washing vehicles is prohibited.
  9. Install new landscaping with low-water demand trees and plants. New turf shall only be installed for functional purposes.
  10. Watering during rain, or within 48 hours after measurable rain, is prohibited.
  11. The requirements listed above should be followed at all times.

Enforcement through Water Budget-Based Tiered Rate Formulas and Landscape Efficiency Factors

Four rate tiers are used to encourage efficient water use by customer groups and discourage wasteful behaviors.

  • Tier 1 (Indoor) Rate applies to the indoor water budget.
    • Indoor water budget formula: (Number of people in household) x (60 gallons per person x Drought Factor) x (Number of days in billing cycle) = Total indoor water budget
  • Tier 2 (Outdoor) Rate applies to the outdoor water budget.
    • Outdoor water budget formula: (Square feet of irrigated landscape) x (Evapotranspiration amount x Conservation Factor) x Drought Factor = Total outdoor water budget

The default conservation factor will be as follows:

 Accounts installed:  Conservation Factor:
 Prior to September 1, 2008  1.0
 September 1, 2008 through December 31, 2010   0.8
 January 1, 2011 through May 31, 2015  0.7
 As of June 1, 2015  0.5
The conservation factor can be adjusted up to 1.25 for functional areas at the discretion of the District.
  • Tier 3 (Excessive) Rate applies to use of water in excess of the indoor and outdoor water budgets.
    • (Indoor water budget + Outdoor water budget) x 50% = Total excessive use water budget
  • Tier 4 (Wasteful) Rate applies to any and all water used in excess of the Tier 3 limit.

Penalties for Water Runoff - under Stage 2 conditions

Violations of the water runoff requirement are cumulative over a 12-month period with penalties as follows:

  • For single-family residential accounts:
    1. First violation: initial written notice of violation to the customer.
    2. Second violation: final written notice of violation to the customer.
    3. Third violation: a surcharge in the amount of $25 shall be added to the customer’s water bill.
    4. Fourth and any subsequent violations: a surcharge of $50 shall be added to the customer’s water bill.
  • For multi-family, commercial, institutional, industrial, agricultural and landscape accounts:
    1. First violation: initial written notice of violation to the customer.
    2. Second violation: final written notice of violation to the customer.
    3. Third violation: a surcharge in the amount of $100 shall be added to the customer’s water bill.
    4. Fourth and any subsequent violations: a surcharge of $200 shall be added to the customer’s water bill.

Any funds collected from penalties will be dedicated to funding conservation programs.

Mandatory Water-Efficient Landscaping Requirements

  • EMWD requires a separate dedicated meter for all landscape areas greater than or equal to 3,000 square-feet, except for single family residential accounts.
  • The efficient use of water should be considered in the design of any new landscape area. The District will calculate an Annual Maximum Allowable Water Budget (AMAWB) for customers that request a new account.
  • Prior to the issuance of a meter, the new customer shall calculate a water budget for each landscape area and submit it to the District for review. 
  •  New accounts that have to comply with similar or more stringent water use efficiency measures imposed by County and/or City Ordinances, do not need to comply with the above requirements, but do need to provide information about the landscape areas to the District.

More questions? See our FAQs...

Help Us Reduce Water Waste!
Use our online reporting system to let us know where water waste is occurring. Please provide the exact street address of where water waste is occurring, a photo (if possible), your name and phone number (your contact information is for staff use only), and email. We appreciate your help in saving precious water resources.