City of San Carlos - Water Conservation


Water Conservation

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Water ConservationSan Carlos Declares Drought Emergency

On Monday, February 9, 2015, the City Council voted to declare a state of drought emergency in San Carlos. 

While we saw ample rain in December 2014, January 2015 was the driest and hottest year the Bay Area has ever recorded. 2015 also marks the fourth consecutive year of drought in California.

Despite conservation efforts, the drought remains a critical issue in San Carlos, with local water storage currently at only 58% of its maximum capacity. 

In November 2014, the City Council passed Ordinance 1479, which gives the City tools for the enforcement of water restrictions when a declaration of drought emergency is declared. This means that nonessential uses of water in San Carlos will be unlawful during the declaration and their penalties enforced by the City.

San Carlos Municipal Code Chapter 1.20 outlines the penalties for violations of Ordinance 1479, which will take effect on 5/15/15:

- $100 for the first violation;
- $200 for the second violation within the same year;
- $500 for each additional violation within the same year;
- For each day a violator continues the unlawful action, he or she is guilty of a separate offense

You can read the ordinance and see a complete list of all nonessential water uses by clicking here.

The City applauds residents for their current water conservation efforts, and believes that further crisis can be avoided through a unified and continued effort.

Residents asked to voluntarily reduce water use by 20% in response to the drought.

The City of San Carlos is providing a list of 
Potential Water Reduction Measures for the community to consider implementing to reduce water use.  To stay up to date on the latest news about the drought, go to

In addition to this list of potential reduction measures, there are a number of resources available.  Some of these are listed below.

Residents consume most of their water outdoors, especially in the garden and lawn. Be wise about watering and try these suggestions:

1. Water less frequently. We often over-water our lawn and gardens. Set sprinklers to turn on before 6 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to reduce evaporation. If you reduce watering your lawn/garden by just two minutes per area, you will save water and money!

2. Make sure your sprinkler heads are directed only on your lawn and garden. Adjust your sprinkler heads to avoid wetting sidewalks and patios.

3. Use mulch or ground cover to help trees and shrubs use less water. Mulch also helps build healthy soil and can save time weeding and watering in the garden!

4. Choose drought tolerant and/or native plants whenever possible, go to
 for more information on native plants. San Carlos is in Climate Zones 9 and 10. Select Mediterranean climate and California native plants that are adapted to our climate of seasonal rainfall. Consider plants that offer food for wildlife and enhance local habitat. Also, avoid invasive species to prevent the further spread of exotic plants.

5. Consider replacing your lawn. The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) Lawn Be Gone! Program provides rebates to approved customers that convert water-thirsty lawns to water-efficient landscapes. Go to to learn more.

6. Rather than washing your car at home, consider taking it to a car wash that recycles the water.

Develop water-wise habits:

1.  Run only full loads in the dishwasher and use shorter wash cycles. Your machine uses the same amount of water whether it is full or almost empty.

2.  Wash only full loads in the washing machine, use cold-water settings and shorter cycles. One load of laundry typically uses 40-50 gallons of water.

3.  Fix leaky toilets. A running toilet can waste many gallons per minute; often a faulty flapper is the culprit. See
Cal Water rebates for water efficient toilets.

4.  Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Up to 2 gallons of water are used, if the tap is left on!

5.  Shorten your showers by two minutes.

Free water conservation kits are available for San Carlos residents from
Cal Water.  To receive your kit, fill out the form on Cal Water’s website at Cal Water Conservation Kit.

Each kit includes:
    Two high-efficiency showerheads 
    Two hose nozzles
    Two bathroom faucet aerators 
    Two toilet leak tablets
    One kitchen faucet aerator

Kits are available to current Cal Water customers while supplies last and will be mailed to the service address. There is a limit of one kit per service address per year. Property Managers: Please email 
Cal Water's Conservation Department with your request for plumbing fixtures.

Rebates for San Carlos residents:
Cal Water offers rebates on qualified water-efficient appliances through partnerships with the Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency (
High-efficiency clothes washer rebate
    Amount: Up to $125
    Available from:
    High-efficiency clothes washers use 35-50% less water and approximately 50% less energy than traditional washers

High-efficiency toilet (HET) rebate
    Amount: Up to $100 if replacing a toilet using 3.5 gallons per flush (gpf) or more 
    Available from:
    High-efficiency toilets use a maximum of 1.28 gpf vs. an old toilet that may use 7 gpf

Important information from Cal Water:
Rebates are available until funds are depleted.
Please contact Cal Water/BAWSCA and the water conservation specialist at (408) 367-8369, if you have any questions about the programs described above.

Water Conservation Facts and Tips
Help save earth's precious resources while saving money on your water bill at the same time.

A variety of Web sites and literature that will help you investigate water conservation.

Educational Materials
Children can learn about the importance of saving water and help conserve from a young age. Educational programs are available for classroom use.

The Fire Department is doing all it can to conserve water in this time of drought. Click here to see what measures our firefighters are taking to help out. For more information about the Fire Department click here.