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Water Conservation
State Regulations Update - Through January 2017

Water Conservation Regulations for the City of San Mateo

The City of San Mateo’s water supply is provided by California Water Service (Cal Water), a private water supplier that provides water to 21 districts in California. Cal Water is responsible for developing and enforcing the compliance plan to meet the State regulations.

Water -Use Reductions and Restriction through January 2017

The State Water Resources Control Board (State) has extended its mandatory water-use reductions and restrictions through January 2017, but allowed water suppliers to self-certify their reductions based on local water supply conditions over the next three years.

While Cal Water waits for new permanent standards, it is setting a conservation target in each district. Customers’ conservation targets, based on use in 2013 for most customers, will be shown on your water bill.

Additionally, Cal Water believes that its customers will continue to conserve responsibly, so for now, they are suspending surcharges for all District customers. As such, the appeal process will also be ending.

Banked units of water will not appear on your upcoming bills, but they will be maintained in your account until the current drought emergency ends. Please note that customers will not bank additional units of water while surcharges are suspended.

Prohibited uses of water, water waste violations, and irrigation schedules all remain effective. Cal Water will notify you of any changes to irrigation schedules as we align with any updated local ordinances.

Thank you for your cooperation during this historic drought, and remember that Cal Water is available to help you use water wisely. Visit the conservation section for information on the many water conservation programs and resources we offer.


Cal Water has made some adjustments to its Drought Response Plan, which went into effect on July 29, 2016.  

1.  Cal Water will be setting a conservation target of 10% for customers in our service area.  These targets will continue to be based, in most instances, on customers’ same-month water usage in 2013.  Conservation targets will also be shown on customers’ bills.  Cal Water states that this conservation target effectively balances the short-term water supply outlook with the need to be prepared for more stringent regulations from the Board and the possibility of a very dry winter.

2.  Cal Water will be moving from Stage 2 to Stage 1 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which does not include drought surcharges.  Cal Water states that its customers will continue to use water wisely, so for now, they are suspending water budgets and associated drought surcharges.  Customers that have accumulated credits in their respective water banks will not see them listed separately on their water bills, but they will be maintained in customers’ accounts until the current drought emergency ends.  The various prohibited uses of water that have been in place since last year remain effective under Stage 1 of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan.  

Customers can visit the Cal Water website for information on its water conservation program and additional information about the drought.

Prohibited Uses of Water

Pursuant to a resolution adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission on April 9, 2015, and the State Water Resources Control Board in March 2015, Cal Water wants to ensure our customers are aware of the following prohibited uses of water:

  • Applying water to outdoor landscapes that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures                                                                          
  • Using a hose to wash motor vehicles unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use
  • Applying water to driveways and sidewalks
  • Using water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system
  • Applying water to outdoor landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall 
  • Using potable water to irrigate outside of new construction without drip or microspray system
  • Using potable water on street medians
  • Filling or refilling ornamental lakes or ponds except to sustain existing aquatic life

In addition, the following water conservation measures are required:

  • Customers must fix leaks within their control within five business days of notification
  • Hotels and motels operators must provide an option to not have towels or linens laundered daily during a guest's stay, and must provide clear notice of the option in easy-to-understand language 
  • Restaurants and other seating and drinking establishments may only serve drinking water upon request


Water Conservation Rebates and Incentive Programs

Cal Water Rebates and Services

To help customers reduce their water use, consistent with the Governor’s order, Cal Water is offering a multitude of rebates and services to Cal Water customers. Residential users have the ability to participate in the following residential programs:
  •          Complementary sprinkler nozzles
  •          High-efficiency toilet rebates and delivery program
  •          High-efficiency clothes washer rebates
  •          Smart Irrigation Controller rebates
  •          Water Use Efficiency Evaluation program
  •          Home water use reports
  •          Conservation kits

Likewise, commercial customers of Cal Water have access to the following conservation commercial programs:

  •          Complementary sprinkler nozzles
  •          High-efficiency toilet and urinal rebates
  •          High-efficiency clothes washer rebates
  •          Smart Irrigation Controller rebates
  •          Rotating nozzle rebates
  •          Spray Body with Integrated Pressure Regulation and Check Valve rebates

Rebates for both residential and commercial Cal Water customers are available for the Turf Replacement Rebate Program, aimed at converting water intensive lawns to water efficient landscapes.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, available to residents and businesses in San Mateo, allow for both energy efficient and water reducing projects to become financially viable. Reference the Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing for Residents and Businesses section on our Energy page for information on providers within the city.

More information about available conservation programs is available at the Cal Water Conservation website.

2016-17 Rain Barrel Rebate Program
Did you know one inch of rain can turn into 625 gallons of water?  Capture every drop with a rain barrel and get a rebate for $50! 

Harvesting rainwater with the help of a rain barrel is one of the simplest ways to lighten your water footprint, fight pollution, and prevent flooding.  San Mateo residents who buy and install qualifying rain barrels can collect rebates of up to $100 per barrel. 

Visit www.flowstobay.org/rainbarrel for rebate information, plus tips on installation and keeping your rain barrel ship-shape.

  June 2016 - tbd 2017

Water Pollution Prevention - Dog Waste Bag Giveaway
The San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program is giving away FREE dog waste bag canisters to County residents to help make it easier.  Picking up after your pup keeps our neighborhoods clean and our creeks, ocean and Bay free of harmful bacteria. 

Visit www.flowstobay.org/petwaste for you dog waste bag canister.

San Mateo City Hall – 330 West 20th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403

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