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Voluntary Water Conservation Efforts

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Governor Brown’s Declaration of a drought emergency for California impact San Francisco?

Dry weather conditions in 2013 were unprecedented, prompting Governor Brown to declare a drought emergency for the state and asking Californians to take action by reducing water consumption. To help ensure that we have a clean, reliable water supply for the future, we all share a responsibility to use our water more efficiently today. Following one of the driest winters on record in the Sierra, the SFPUC is urging customers to voluntarily curtail water consumption by at least 10%. Voluntary water conservation efforts in the coming months could help avoid possible mandatory rationing and deeper water consumption limits in the future should drought conditions persist.

What is the current status of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System’s water supplies?

Each year, the SFPUC’s regional water supply is directly affected by the winter precipitation and snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. In the spring and summer, snowmelt fills the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir – the largest reservoir in the SFPUC system – before traveling 167 miles to our 2.6 million customers in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda Counties. Please visit our water deliveries page for more information on the current Hetch Hetchy Water Delivery System storage.

Water Wise Evaluation 4What can San Francisco residents and businesses do to help conserve water?

The SFPUC’s goal is to achieve a system-wide reduction in usage by 10% and every little bit that people can do in their homes or businesses helps. Conserving water can come from modest changes to your daily habits. Measures can include taking shorter showers, installing aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets, watering landscapes less frequently, checking for leaks, and replacing older, water-guzzling toilets and washing machines with more efficient models.

On average, San Francisco residents use about 50 gallons of water per person each day. The typical San Francisco home could help meet the SFPUC’s voluntary reduction goal of 10% if each household member reduced his/her daily water use by about five gallons per day, roughly 20 gallons per household per day.



Water Wise EvaluationDoes the SFPUC offer any programs or financial incentives to help customers conserve water?

The SFPUC offers a number of services and programs to assist homes, apartment buildings and businesses with using water wisely.

Water Wise Evaluations
Help identify inefficient plumbing fixtures, leaks, and practices throughout homes and business. This service also includes an assessment of landscapes and outdoor water use and provides select free plumbing devices.

Free Plumbing Devices
All properties can benefit from immediate water savings with free plumbing devices following an evaluation.


Replace old plumbing fixtures and appliances with new efficient models that use far less water and apply for rebates from the SFPUC. We will help identify fixtures eligible for rebates up to $300 when you sign up for a free Water-Wise Evaluation.

Water-Wise Gardening
Learn more about free 'Water-Wise' gardening classes, guidebooks and graywater incentives.  

If drought conditions continue, will the SFPUC propose mandatory water rationing? If yes, how will mandatory rationing be implemented?

The SFPUC has called for voluntary conservation efforts to help avert mandatory limits (rationing) later this year, or next year, if dry conditions continue. Conservation by customers in our service area now may help avoid mandatory rationing this year.

Mandatory rationing was last imposed during the 1987 – 1992 drought. If mandatory limits again become necessary later this year or in future years, the SFPUC will provide each account an allotment of water for use based on the average use over the previous year or more. Accounts  that exceed their allotment would face higher fees and charges for excess water use. Water use restrictions on irrigation, outdoor use and other discretionary water consumption may also apply.

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Last updated: 7/13/2017 9:58:37 AM