Make Water Conservation a Way of Life
Make Water Conservation a Way of Life
Palo Alto's water is supplied by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) through the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir and distribution system. Learn more on our water resources page.
April 7, 2017: Governor Brown declared an end to the drought emergency in California. However, the City of Palo Alto Utilities encourages our residents to embrace water conservation as a way of life.
The City of Palo Alto Utilities can provide you with tips for ways to use water efficiently.
Valley Water, CPAU's partner in water conservation, offers programs and rebates to help Palo Alto residents use water more efficiently in the landscape. Check out Valley Water's new landscape water calculator!
- Landscape Conversion (Pre-inspection required)
- Up to $2 per sq. ft., maximum $3,000 per single family home
- Call (408) 630-2554 to schedule a pre-inspection
- This video has some tips for water-wise landscape maintenance.
- Graywater Laundry to Landscape
To learn more or apply for any of the Landscape Rebates, contact Valley Water at www.watersavings.org or (408) 630-2554.
Did you know that recycling saves water? Read the facts in this poster. When placing containers in the recycling, there is no need to rinse them. Just scrape or pour out excess food and liquids.
The City of Palo Alto’s Public Works department offers stormwater rebates for Palo Alto residents. Some programs require a pre-inspection before the project can be completed.
- Rain Barrels
- The City is offering residents a $50 rebate for the purchase and installation of each rain barrel, up to $1,000 maximum
- Cisterns (Design review required)
- The City offers residents a rebate of $0.15/gallon, up to $1,000 for cisterns
- Permeable Pavement (Design review required)
- The City offers residents a rebate of $1.05/ft.2 up to $1,000 for the installation of permeable pavement
- Green Roofs (Design review required)
- The City offers residents a rebate of $1.50/st.2 up to $1,000 for the installation of a green roof
To learn more or apply for any of the Stormwater Rebates, contact us at www.cityofpaloalto.org/stormwater or at (650) 329-2295.
Check out the City of Palo Alto Utilities' Green Living Resources Guide for other rebates and programs.
Free Water-Wise Outdoor Survey
Home irrigation systems are often inefficient, due to equipment placement/coverage, over-watering, misting and evaporation patterns, and outdated equipment. Residential single-family and small multi-family sites with at least one valve-operated irrigation zone are eligible to participate in Valley Water's Water-Wise Outdoor Survey.
Schedule an appointment online here.
Free DIY Water-Wise Indoor Survey Kit
Valley Water offers a Do-it-Yourself kit to evaluate indoor water use that includes a flow rate bag for testing shower and sink flow rates and dye tablets to test toilets for leaks. Included in the kit will be a step-by-step guide to evaluating water use, including:
- Meter leak test
- Toilet leak test
- Sink/shower flow rates
- General indoor leak information
To learn more, contact Valley Water at www.watersavings.org or (408) 630-2554.
Learn how to check for leaks indoors and out by viewing our easy steps with this short video.
Attend one of our free sustainable landscape workshops to get hands-on experience and expert training for your next landscape or water efficiency project. To view and register for classes, please visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/workshops.
Join our Utility Efficiency Services eNewsletter service to receive updates on events and programs.
Residential Water Efficiency
Commercial Water Efficiency
City of Palo Alto Graywater Resources
Sample Water-Wise Landscapes
Canopy's Tree Library, Tree Care, Tree Watering Guidelines
Palo Alto's Landscape Water Efficiency Standards for New Construction
The City of Palo Alto enforces permanent water use restrictions on wasteful practices such as leaks, runoff, irrigating during and immediately after rainfall, and use of potable water when non-potable water is available. Read about the City's guidelines and efficiency resources below.
- Flooding or runoff is prohibited.
- Turf and ornamental landscape* irrigation is not allowed between 10 am and 6 pm, except for hand watering with a bucket or a hose with a shut-off valve.
- Broken or defective plumbing and irrigation systems must be repaired within a reasonable period.
- A shut-off valve is required for hoses used to wash vehicles, buildings, etc.
- Water in fountains or other decorative water features must be recirculated.
- Commercial car washes must use recycled water systems if economically feasible.
- Potable water for construction uses is prohibited is non-potable water is available.
- Potable water for street sweepers/washers is prohibited if non-potable water is available
*“Ornamental landscape” refers to landscaping for purely decorative purposes, to be distinguished from edible gardens or landscapes that provide a function beyond aesthetics.
Current enforcement of the water use restrictions:
The City will notify customers when incidents of these water use restrictions are observed. This may be through use of a door hanger, email, phone call or letter. Notices are subject to fines and potential use of a flow restrictor on the water service.
- 1st Notice: Doorhanger/Email/Phone call to customer
- 2nd Notice: Doorhanger/Email/Phone call to customer
- 3rd Notice: Certified letter from the Utility Director notifying customer of violation and potential future fines
- 4th Notice: Fines
You can also contact us by calling the Water Waste Hotline at (650) 496-6968 or email Drought@CityofPaloAlto.org
Water, Gas, Waste Water Emergencies:
Call Utilities Emergency Dispatch at (650) 329-2579.
Your Palo Alto Water Supply
This new video from our friends at BAWSCA talks about our precious water supply & how membership in this agency has helped CPAU, among other member agencies, protect our high-quality water at a fair price.
- Water Quality
- Municipal Code (12.32) Water Use Regulations
- Local Water System Improvement Projects
- Palo Alto Emergency Water System Projects
- Urban Water Management Plan (includes 4-stage drought response plan)
- Regulation 13H: Water Shortage Emergency Response
- Preventing Backflow into the City System
- Water Engineering and Operations
- Palo Alto Landscape Water Efficiency Standards for New Construction
- Why drink bottled water? Palo Alto has the highest quality tap water around!
Recycled Water & Other Alternative Water Sources
- Recycled water is available from the Regional Water Quality Control Plant for use with construction activities and landscape irrigation.
- Read information on how to use Recycled Water here, including how to obtain the necessary permit.
- Find out more online and read the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Palo Alto Recycled Water Expansion Project.
- Interested in opportunities for reusing water that is "dewatered" or pumped from the ground during construction projects? Read our FAQs.
- View our map of FREE Water Filling Stations.
- Stormwater Systems-rebates are available for rainwater harvesting, cisterns, green roofs and permeable pavers.
- Questions about draining your pool or hot tub? Take a look at this bill insert from our Regional Water Quality Control Plant.
(Tuolumne river photo courtesy of Catherine Elvert, Utilities Communications Manager)
Last Updated: April 7, 2017