To report water waste, please call ACWD Customer Service during regular business hours at (510) 668-4200. You may also use our online reporting form.
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After several critically dry years and another dry year forecasted, it is important to conserve now to save water for the future. However, it is important to care for trees so that they survive through the drought due to the multiple benefits they provide communities, such as improved air quality.
Customers should reduce outdoor water use by limiting irrigation for lawn and other ornamental vegetation but prioritizing water for trees. Watering trees gradually but deeply will ensure they survive. Trees are best watered by hand or using a bubbler or drip irrigation system, and should be on a separate valve than the surrounding vegetation, especially if planted in a lawn area. The frequency and amount of water needed will depend on whether the tree is young and needs to be established or if it is mature, and whether it is a low, medium, or high water use species. Please add a layer of mulch around the root zone of the tree carefully avoiding the base of the trunk to lower soil temperatures and reduce the amount of water that evaporates.
Resources with specific tips on how to care for and water your tree efficiently:
ACWD is closely monitoring and evaluating water supplies and based on current conditions, we are able to meet customer demands in 2021. Because of this, mandatory water use restrictions are not in place, yet we encourage all customers to voluntarily conserve water by 15% per the Governor’s Executive Order. We also monitor for water waste, which is restricted. Water waste includes runoff when irrigating with potable water, using potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways, and using hoses with no shutoff nozzles to wash cars.
Fortunately, ACWD’s customers have continued to conserve since the last drought and water use is still well below 2013 use. The District has a diverse supply portfolio and we have stored water during wet years for use during dry years, so we project that ACWD will have sufficient water supply to support demands this year. But with the possibility of next year being dry too, as well as the year after that, ACWD has rolled out its One Saves Water conservation campaign to ask customers to further reduce their water use this year by taking simple actions.
If water use increases and ACWD’s supplies become more constrained, or statewide mandates are established, ACWD Board of Directors could declare a water shortage emergency, which provides a foundation for enacting mandatory water use restrictions.
Please visit ACWD’s drought resource webpage at: www.acwd.org/drought - it will be updated with any actions we take to address dry year conditions.
After two critically dry years, ACWD has sufficient supply for this year as well as a healthy start on reserves for 2022. This comes thanks to past investments in water supply reliability made by our customers including water-use efficiency and conservation, local groundwater recharge at Quarry Lakes, brackish groundwater desalination, water supply contracts with the State and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Regional Water System, and remote groundwater banking in Kern County.
However, forecasts indicate an elevated chance of a third dry year. Continued dry conditions would stress critical minimum flows in lakes and streams, limiting the ability of water managers to move available water supplies throughout the state. An important part of planning for a third dry year is for all of us to take simple actions to save water now.
California is no stranger to drought, but 2013-2014 and 2020-2021 are two of California’s driest years in 150 years. More significantly, these recent dry years exhibit characteristics of changed precipitation patterns that are anticipated to occur with climate change – notably a shorter rainy season and a longer dry season. ACWD is working with water resources managers throughout the state to study and prepare for climate change and develop adaption plans for the new weather patterns; the challenges of today’s drought form a learning opportunity for better management tomorrow – a silver lining!
For all program information, please visit ACWD’s rebates page.
Customers are encouraged to reduce outdoor water use but ACWD does not expect its customers to completely stop irrigating their lawns, just reduce to no more than two watering days per week. A well-maintained lawn can withstand a drought year with reduced watering so we ask customers to follow these simple actions: water no more than two times per week, water only early in the morning, and use intermittent soak times (known as “cycle and soak”) to reduce run off and establish a stronger root system that can withstand drought. If you follow these practices, your lawn may not look deep lush green in mid-summer, but it will remain alive and should return in the fall with winter rains. Better still, consider reducing the size of your lawn and take advantage of our enhanced rebate program to replace a decorative lawn with water-efficient landscape. Other landscape survival tips can be found here.
If dry conditions continue and water supplies are limited, ACWD or the State of California may implement restrictions on outdoor irrigation.
Currently, there are no mandatory water use restrictions in the ACWD service area. However, ACWD encourages customers to install water-efficient landscapes and provides a rebate to customers that replace existing lawns with this type of landscape. If ACWD’s supplies become more constrained, or statewide mandates are established, ACWD Board of Directors could declare a water shortage emergency, which provides a foundation for enacting mandatory water use restrictions. Restrictions may limit how much water can be applied on your new lawn.
There are many benefits to installing water-efficient landscape rather than a new lawn:
While artificial turf requires less water than a natural turf lawn, there are healthier and more ecologically sound alternatives. In addition to saving water, low water use plants and permeable landscape material meet additional sustainability goals that artificial turf and concrete do not:
1) Artificial turf and concrete are not a living landscape and do not increase biodiversity of plant, animal, and insect populations.
2) Artificial turf has potential environmental concerns. It is synthetic material that will have to be replaced in 10-20 years due to wear and tear, so it will eventually end up in a landfill.
3) Artificial turf is not water free. It needs to be cleaned with water and potentially with chemicals. This raises the concern of chemical pollutants from the cleaning materials, and potentially from the artificial turf itself, polluting surface water and groundwater in the runoff.
4) Artificial turf and concrete can get significantly hotter than surrounding air temperatures and contribute to the heat island effect by increasing air temperatures in urban settings.
Please visit ACWD’s Water Use Efficiency Efforts webpage to learn more about how ACWD is leading the way in using water wisely.
With California’s climate and increasing effects of climate change, every bit of conservation helps. There are simple changes that all Californians can do to save water and ACWD offers a comprehensive suite of water use efficiency measures, such as rebates, technical assistance, and education programs to help. Each one of us can make a difference – working together as one community to make conservation a way of life in California.
ACWD plans for sufficient water supplies for existing as well as future customers, especially during drought. ACWD is required by law to conduct a Water Supply Assessment for new developments to ensure sufficient supply. To date, ACWD has not determined a need to temporarily suspend new water service connections.
Currently, there are no mandatory water use restrictions in the ACWD service area. ACWD encourages customers to continue to conserve water. Conservation is more important than ever as we experience a second, critically dry year, and we recommend customers fill and drain pools only if there is a health and safety concern, even though there are currently no restrictions on this water use practice.
The State of California currently does not offer a lawn removal rebate program. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of the water-efficient landscape rebate program that ACWD offers so that they can save water and money by replacing their water thirsty lawn with a water-efficient landscape.
To learn more about the main cleaning program, please visit: www.acwd.org/maincleaning.
To learn more about the main cleaning program, please visit: www.acwd.org/maincleaning.
ACWD's Board approved an increase in the rebate amount for the Water-Efficient Landscape (WEL) rebate from $1/square foot to $2/square foot on June 10, 2021. ACWD is always evaluating enhancements to its water conservation programs to better serve customers in their efforts to conserve water. This may include changes to rebate amounts; however, our Board must first approve this kind of change. Currently, the rebate amount is set at $2/square foot of lawn removed and will remain so for the time being.
It’s important to remember that ACWD’s rates are based on the cost of providing water service – as a public agency ACWD does not make a profit.
Should a water shortage emergency be declared, ACWD may adopt Stage Rates which would encourage additional conservation and ensure sufficient revenues to cover its cost of providing water service when consumption decreases due to a water shortage emergency, such as a drought.
Stage Rates would only occur following a public hearing process and provide customers with 30 days’ advance notice before implementing any stage rates on customer bills.
If used, Stage Rates are set up incrementally to reflect the required levels of water shortage conservation needed to ensure a reliable water supply and to not “penalize” customers that do conserve.
ACWD currently offers a rebate for replacing lawns with water-efficient landscape. Lawns tend to be the highest water use landscape, so replacing your lawn with water-efficient landscape will ensure you maximize your water savings.