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Drought Update: Emergency Outdoor Water Use Restrictions in Place for Redwood City Communit

Post Date:09/15/2014

For Immediate Release

September 15, 2014


Redwood City, CA - With California in the midst  of one of the most serious droughts in the state's recorded history, it's clear to everyone that we're facing a real water emergency. To help our community do its part, and in compliance with State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) directives, Redwood City has adopted emergency drought regulations which include temporary restrictions on outdoor water use (see the  City Council staff report for details).

These regulations state:

  • The direct application of water to any hard surface for washing is prohibited;
  • Watering of outdoor landscaping that causes runoff to adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures is prohibited;
  • Using a hose to wash an automobile, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle is prohibited; and
  • Using potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, unless water is recirculated, is prohibited.

"The Redwood City community has done a remarkable job of conserving water over the last decade, and more," said Redwood City Mayor Jeffrey Gee. "In fact, we beat of our water use reduction targets for the year 2020 nine years early, in 2011, through recycled water, community water conservation programs, and water use reductions in City operations. We know what needs to be done to save water during this drought - and together we can make it happen!"

This handy list of OUTDOOR WATER DOs & DON'Ts will help community members to reduce local water use, and contribute to the statewide cooperative effort to address this historic drought. More information is online at the City's water conservation


  • Use a broom, instead of a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks
  • Prevent runoff by checking for leaks, misdirected, or blocked spray in your sprinkler system
  • Use the "cycle and soak" watering method, giving time for the water to be absorbed into the soil and avoid run-off. For example if you need 8 minutes of watering, then use 2 start times one hour apart with a 4 minute run time each
  • Use a car wash that reuses water
  • Consider draining your fountain during the drought
  • Reduce water use in your irrigation by:
    • Watering at night to prevent evaporation
    • Getting a voucher for free high efficiency sprinkler nozzles (
    • Converting lawn to drought tolerant native plants or other water efficient landscapes, and consider our Lawn Be Gone! Rebate Program (


  • Don't water your yard more than twice a week
    • Residential addresses ending with odd numbers water on Monday and Thursday
    • Residential addresses ending with even numbers water on Tuesday and Friday
      (specified outdoor watering days allow for more accurate tracking of residential outdoor water use versus indoor water use; does not apply to large landscapes with a water meter dedicated only to irrigation - those properties are required to reduce outdoor water use by 20%)
  • Don't overwater your yard - no runoff onto the street, sidewalk, or next door
  • Don't use a hose to wash down driveways and sidewalks
  • Don't wash your car at home without an automatic shutoff nozzle
  • Don't use water in decorative fountains unless it recirculates

Redwood City's efforts are focusing on information, education, and outreach to help residents and businesses comply with these new outdoor water use restrictions.

The City's water use reduction philosophy is: "We're all in this together!" - and that means all of Redwood City's water users including residents, businesses, schools, and those involved in the City's own operations. 

What should someone do if they see a need for water-use education? If over-use of water is observed, community members should let the City know that drought assistance is needed, by calling 650-780-7436, or using the myRWC smartphone app ( - click on "Request a Service" and then select "Drought Assistance"). The City will then provide direct water use reduction information and support to help reduce that property's water over-use. Potential fines would only be used as a last resort.

The City continues to lead by example in conserving water in its own operations:

  • The City's recycled water is used on all of the street medians, on most of the landscaping on Seaport Blvd and all of the grounds around our police department, and many public properties in Redwood Shores
  • Eight athletic fields have been converted to synthetic turf, saving millions of gallons of water annually
  • All of the City's large parks (and many smaller ones) have "smart" irrigation controllers that automatically control the flow of water based on weather conditions and will shut down the system and alert staff when there are line breaks
  • In certain median areas, we're replacing traditional fixed spray heads with slow application rate stream rotors
  • Broken or malfunctioning irrigation lines, valves, or sprinkler heads are immediately repaired when discovered
  • Many of the plants on City property have been converted to drought-tolerant species
  • The City offers recycled water to contractors for construction use/dust control
  • Water features at Stafford, Stulsaft, Spinas, and Fleishman parks have been turned off

More water-saving tools, information, and assistance are available on the City's water conservation web page, Up-to-date information on statewide drought conditions is available online at

Visit Redwood City's award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City's newsletters and other City documents


Terence Kyaw
Redwood City Public Works

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