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Water Conservation Info
SprinklerState Mandates Water Restrictions

The State of California continues to respond to an ongoing unprecedented drought. While the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)— providing a majority of the City’s water supply—has not indicated a water shortage, overall, the state is experiencing a severe water shortage. To respond to the shortage, Governor Brown has mandated a 25% urban water use reduction throughout California, with a tiered residential reduction requirement based on per-person water use. 

Responding to the current drought, California mandates adopted in the summer of 2014 required water suppliers to activate their water conservation plans. On November 18, 2014, the East Palo Alto City Council adopted a Resolution to implement the Statewide Emergency Drought Regulations as follows: 

(1) The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures; 
(2) The use of a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use; 
(3) The application of potable water to driveways and sidewalks; and 
(4) The use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system.

As of Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in response to Governor Brown’s updated regulations, the City Council extended the above regulations for another 270 days, and amended them to include the following additional restrictions:
(5) The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
(6) The serving of drinking water other than upon request in eating or drinking establishments, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, cafes, cafeterias, bars, or other public places where food or drink are served and/or purchased. 
(7) The irrigation with potable water of ornamental turf on public street medians. 
(8) To promote water conservation, operators of hotels and motels shall: 
  • Provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily.
  • Prominently display notice of this option in each guestroom using clear and easily understood language.  
(9) Immediately upon this subdivision taking effect, all commercial, industrial and institutional properties that use a potable water supply shall limit outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscapes or turf with potable water to no more than two days per week. 
  • Properties with even addresses (including no address) shall be permitted  to water on Tuesdays and Fridays;
  • Properties with odd addresses shall be permitted to irrigate on Mondays and Thursdays.

*The City is also required to reduce residential water use by 8% over 2013 usage, to respond to the tiered water usage cutbacks.*  

Fines and Penalties for Water Waste
In accordance with Section 864 of Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations, the following fines and penalties are hereby established. 
A Courtesy notice of the violation shall be issued upon the first violation. 
Upon a second and subsequent violations, the violator shall be fined as set forth below and may be charged with an infraction.

 Violation  Fine
1st Courtesy Notice,
No Fine
2nd  $50.00
3rd  $100.00
4th  $200.00
5th  $500.00

Any person receiving a notice of a second or subsequent violation shall have a right to a hearing pursuant to Municipal Code section 13.24.300.

Hearings regarding violations will follow procedures outlined in the City of East Palo Alto municipal code, Section 13.24.300

Tips for Water Conservation
Drought Relief for City Water Customers: In response to the drought, customers of American Water (the City’s contracted water service company) can request a Water Conservation Toolkit to help reduce water use at home—and save you money! Pick up your low flow shower head, faucet aerator or hose shut off valves at 2415 University Avenue on the second floor. Rebates are also available for new low-flow appliances—just ask!

Not a customer of American Water Enterprises? Check with your local water purveyor and ask whether they have any special promotions to help you save water.

Using less water is actually easy, and it can save you money, too. This page provides you with information and resources for turning your home into a water-saving household! Start with some great, easy-to-do water-saving tips, and then check out other links for even more water conservation ideas and actions.


Is East Palo Alto Reaching Water Conservation Goals? 

The City of East Palo Alto is exemplary in conservation, with the second lowest per person water usage in California. Despite this, the City is still required to reduce overall residential water use by 8% from 2013 monthly reported use. The following chart provides a comparison of how the City of East Palo Alto is doing (as of April 2015) when compared to surrounding water agencies. 

Local Conservation Water Use Comparison 

City or Water Purveyor
 R-GPCD* Percent Reduced
During Drought
% Reduction Required by State 
East Palo Alto 32.9 20% 8%
Redwood City  57.8 30% 8%
California Water Service Company Mid Peninsula 62.8 5% 8% 
Menlo Park 68.6 9% 12% 
Palo Alto  81.9
25% 16%
Mid-Peninsula Water District  72.5 24% 12%
California Water Service Company Bear Gulch  141.6 23% 28%

Water Board Report: April 2015 Water Conservation Report by Supplier 
*R-GPD=Residential Gallons Per Person, Per day