Water-Use Restrictions

Each stage of drought has restrictions on the ways we can use water. The more severe the stage, the greater the restrictions. See below to learn the limits we all need to follow to ensure that homes and businesses in our communities maintain a flow of safe, high-quality water every time a faucet is turned on.

These policies were established to minimize the impact on our daily lives while also making conservation a way of life, no matter what stage of drought or season we are in.

Restrictions vary, depending on the stage of the drought

In Stage 1: 

  • Shut-off nozzles are required on hoses for car washing.
  • Washing hard surfaces, such as power washing a driveway, is prohibited. 
  • Runoff from landscape irrigation is prohibited.
  • Outdoor watering is prohibited within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.  
  • Landscape watering of newly constructed homes is prohibited.
  • Decorative features, such as fountains, must use recirculated water.
  • Customers are required to repair leaks, breaks, and malfunctions in a timely manner. 


In Stage 2, earlier restrictions apply, plus: 

  • The use of non-recirculating systems in all new conveyer car wash and commercial laundry systems is prohibited. 
  • The use of single pass cooling systems in new connections is prohibited. 
  • Restaurants may not serve water to customers unless requested.
  • Hotels and motels must offer guests an opt-out option for linen service.
  • Outdoor irrigation by residential and business customers is limited to 1-3 days per week, depending on local ordinances.


In Stage 3, earlier restrictions apply, plus:

  • The use of potable water for construction and dust control is prohibited.
  • The use of potable water for street washing is prohibited.
  • The use of potable water for irrigation of ornamental turf on public street medians is prohibited.
  • Filling of ornamental lakes or ponds is prohibited.


In Stage 4, earlier restrictions apply, plus:

  • Vehicle washing, except with recirculated water or low-volume systems, is prohibited.
  • Use of water for recreational purposes, such as water parks and the filling of pools, is prohibited.


In Stage 5, earlier restrictions apply, plus:

  • Net zero demand increase on new water service connections is required.
  • Single-pass cooling systems are prohibited.


In Stage 6, earlier restrictions apply, plus:

  • A moratorium on new water service connections is imposed.
  • All landscape irrigation is prohibited.

In Stage 1, outdoor irrigation is not limited to certain days of the week, unless local ordinances state otherwise (current ordinances noted below). However, watering is prohibited between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on all days, for all customers.

In Visalia, outdoor irrigation is limited to two days per week:

· Customers with odd-numbered residences can water on Tuesdays and Saturdays

· Customers with even-numbered addresses can water on Wednesdays and Sundays

In Westlake, outdoor irrigation is limited to three days per week (days are not specified).

Yes, there are no restrictions on hand watering, drip irrigation systems, or micro-spray irrigation. 

While there are no restrictions to indoor water use, we strongly encourage customers to conserve water in a number of other ways, such as taking shorter showers, installing water-efficient shower heads and faucet aerators, and using washing machines and dishwashers with full loads only. For more conservation tips, visit our Ways to Conserve page.

Regardless of the stage of drought, first-time violators will have a real-time water measurement device installed on their water meter. Unmetered customers will have a meter installed. 

Second- and third-time violators will have per-day financial penalties imposed. The amounts depend on the drought stage. 

  • Stage 1: $25 for second violation, $50 for third violation
  • Stage 2: $50 for second violation, $100 for third violation
  • Stage 3: $100 for second violation, $200 for third violation
  • Stage 4: $200 for second violation, $400 for third violation
  • Stage 5: $400 for second violation, $800 for third violation
  • Stage 6: $800 for second violation, $1,600 for third violation

Subsequent violations will result in the installation of a flow-restriction device with a minimum flow rate of 0.5 gallons per minute.

Egregious violators could be subject to water service discontinuance.

Leaks and water waste in a Cal Water service area can be reported using our Report Leaks and Waste form.

Drought Stages | Discover the Stages of Drought
Drought Stages

How drought conditions vary

How to Save Water | Find Conservation Tips
How to Save Water

Small steps make a big difference

Still Have Questions? | Explore the Conservation FAQ
Still Have Questions?

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