Model Drought Response Ordinance

The Model Drought Response Ordinance is a tool to foster consistency throughout San Diego County on the response levels and water-use restrictions in place in the event of a drought or other regional supply shortages.

 

Member agency drought ordinances may vary. To find out which ordinance is applicable in your area, click here

icon_pdf.pngModel Drought Response Ordinance Language

icon_pdf.pngModel Drought Response Ordinance Summary
 

Restriction Levels

Click on the bars below to learn what the water-use restrictions are at each level based on the Model Drought Response Ordinance. Actual restrictions in a customer's home/business depend on the member agency that serves that community.

To find out which ordinance is applicable in your area, and to view member agency drought ordinances, click here.

LEVEL 1 RESTRICTIONS - DROUGHT WATCH
 

What are the restrictions at level 1?
 

  1. Washing down paved surfaces is prohibited including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or patios, except when it is necessary to alleviate safety or sanitation hazards.
     
  2. Water waste resulting from inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff, low head drainage, or overspray, etc. is prohibited. Similarly, stop water flows onto non-targeted areas, such as adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, hardscapes, roadways, or structures.
     
  3. Irrigate residential and commercial landscape before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only.
     
  4. Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or bucket to water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs located on residential and commercial properties that are not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system.
     
  5. Irrigate nursery and commercial grower’s products before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only. Watering is permitted at any time with a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle, a bucket, or when a drip/micro-irrigation system/equipment is used. Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time. Watering of livestock is permitted at any time.
     
  6. Use recirculated water to operate ornamental fountains.
     
  7. Wash vehicles using a bucket and a hand-held hose with a positive shut-off nozzle, mobile high pressure/low volume wash system, or at a commercial site that recirculates (reuses) water onsite. Avoid washing during hot conditions when additional water is required due to evaporation.
     
  8. Serve and refill water in restaurants and other food service establishments only upon request.
     
  9. Offer guests in hotels, motels, and other commercial lodging establishments the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.
     
  10. Repair all water leaks within five days of notification by the member agency unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.
     
  11. Use recycled or nonpotable water for construction purposes when available.
Restrictions shall not apply to water use from private wells or to the use of recycled water.
 
LEVEL 2 RESTRICTIONS - DROUGHT ALERT
 

What are the restrictions at level 2?

icon_pdf.pngLevel 2 "Drought Alert" Mandatory Water-Use Restrictions
(Based on the Water Authority's Drought Model Ordinance)

All Level 1 water-use restrictions, plus:
  1. Limit residential and commercial landscape irrigation to no more than three assigned days per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. During the months of November through May, landscape irrigation is limited to no more than once per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. This section shall not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.
     
  2. Limit lawn watering and landscape irrigation using sprinklers to no more than ten minutes per watering station per day. This provision does not apply to landscape irrigation systems using water efficient devices, including but not limited to: weather-based controllers, drip/micro-irrigation systems and stream rotor sprinklers.
     
  3. Water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs located on residential and commercial properties, and not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system governed by section 5 (b) (1)*, on the same schedule set forth in section 5 (b) (1)* by using a bucket, hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle, or low-volume non-spray irrigation.

    * Limit residential and commercial landscape irrigation to no more than three assigned days per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. During the months of November through May, landscape irrigation is limited to no more than once per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. This section shall not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.
     
  4. Repair all leaks within 72 hours of notification by the member agency unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.
     
  5. Stop operating ornamental fountains or similar decorative water features unless recycled water is used. Restrictions shall not apply to water use from private wells or to the use of recycled water.
Restrictions shall not apply to water use from private wells or to the use of recycled water.
 
LEVEL 3 RESTRICTIONS - DROUGHT CRITICAL
 

What are the restrictions at level 3
 

All Level 1 and 2 water-use restrictions, plus:
  1. Limit residential and commercial landscape irrigation to no more than two assigned days per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. During the months of November through May, landscape irrigation is limited to no more than once per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. This section shall not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.
     
  2. Water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs located on residential and commercial properties, and not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system governed by section 6 (b) (1)**, on the same schedule set forth in section 6 (b) (1)** by using a bucket, hand-held hose with a positive shut-off nozzle, or low-volume nonspray irrigation.
    ** Limit residential and commercial landscape irrigation to no more than two assigned days per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. During the months of November through May, landscape irrigation is limited to no more than once per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. This section shall not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.
     
  3. Filling or refilling ornamental lakes or ponds is prohibited, except to the extent needed to sustain aquatic life, provided that such animals are of significant value and have been actively managed within the water feature prior to declaration of a drought response level under this ordinance.
     
  4. Washing vehicles is prohibited, except at commercial carwashes that recirculate (reuse) water, or by high pressure/low volume wash systems.
     
  5. Repair all leaks within 48 hours of notification by the member agency unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.
     
  6. No new potable water service shall be provided, no new temporary meters or permanent meters shall be provided, and no statements of immediate ability to serve or provide potable water service (such as, will-serve letters, certificates or letters of availability) shall be issued, except under the following circumstances:

    A. A valid, unexpired building permit has been issued for the project; or
    B. The project is necessary to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare; or
    C. The applicant provides substantial evidence of an enforceable commitment that water demands for the project will be offset prior to the provision of a new water meter(s) to the satisfaction of the member agency.

    This provision shall not be construed to prohibit the resetting or turn-on of meters to provide continuation of water service or to restore service that has been interrupted for a period of one year or less.
     
  7. Upon declaration of a drought response Level 3 condition, the member agency will suspend consideration of annexations to its service area.
     
  8. The member agency may establish a water allocation for property served by the member agency using a method that does not penalize persons for the implementation of conservation methods or the installation of water saving devices.
Restrictions shall not apply to water use from private wells or to the use of recycled water.
 
LEVEL 4 RESTRICTIONS - DROUGHT EMERGENCY
 

What are the restrictions at level 4?
 

All Level 1, 2, and 3 water-use restrictions, plus:
  1. All landscape irrigation is prohibited, except crops and landscape products of commercial growers and nurseries. This restriction shall not apply to the following categories of use unless the member agency has determined that recycled water is available and may be lawfully applied to the use.

    A. Maintenance of trees and shrubs that are watered on the same schedule set forth in section 6 (b) (1)** by using a bucket, hand-held hose with a positive shut-off nozzle, or low-volume nonspray irrigation;

    B. Maintenance of existing landscaping necessary for fire protection as specified by the Fire Marshal of the local fire protection agency having jurisdiction over the property to be irrigated;

    C. Maintenance of existing landscaping for erosion control;

    D. Maintenance of plant materials identified to be rare or essential to the well being of rare animals;

    E. Maintenance of landscaping within active public parks and playing fields, day-care centers, school grounds, cemeteries, and golf course greens, provided that such irrigation does not exceed two days per week according to the schedule established under section 6 (b) (1)**;|

    ** Limit residential and commercial landscape irrigation to no more than two assigned days per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. During the months of November through May, landscape irrigation is limited to no more than once per week on a schedule established by the General Manager and posted by the member agency. This section shall not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.

    F. Watering of livestock; and

    G. Public works projects and actively irrigated environmental mitigation projects.
     
  2. Repair all water leaks within 24 hours of notification by the member agency unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.
     
  3. The member agency may establish a water allocation for property served by the member agency.
     
Restrictions shall not apply to water use from private wells or to the use of recycled water.
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