San Jose Water Limits Outdoor Watering to Twice Weekly

San Jose Water today announced new rules to limit outdoor watering to two days per week, as city water supplies face extreme drought conditions.

The water company is encouraging its 230,000 customers “to begin conserving water immediately in response to the drought emergency declared by Valley Water, its water wholesaler, which provides approximately 90% of the water supply for SJW customers.”

Mandatory water use restrictions currently focus on outdoor water use, which accounts for half of the average household’s total use.  A complete list of rules can be found at

In addition to the watering restrictions, which are effective immediately, all residential, business and commercial customers are asked to cut water usage by 15% from 2019 levels.

“At this time, there will not be any customer drought surcharges (penalties) for excess water use, however, we are asking all of our customers to comply,” the water company said in Wednesday afternoon statement.

“The Company is committed to helping customers with their conservation efforts and providing every opportunity to achieve the targeted usage reduction.”

San Jose Water Works said it will continue to monitor water usage, and if the desired level of conservation is not achieved by Aug. 31, it may need to adjust its rules.  This could include the imposition of drought surcharges if required by the California Public Utilities Commission or other government agencies, the company warned its customers.

Under its updated Rule 14.1 Water Shortage Contingency Plan, the water company  is aligning this plan with its 2020 Urban Water Management Plan, and activating Stage 3 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

The new rules include:

  • Limits on watering to two days per week: Watering or irrigation of lawns, landscape or other vegetated areas with potable water is limited to two days per week. Irrigation will be allowed Mondays and Thursdays for odd numbered and numberless addresses, and will be allowed on Tuesdays and Fridays for even numbered addresses.
  • Limits on the timing and length of watering: Watering or irrigating of outside plants, lawn, landscape, and turf areas with potable water using a landscape irrigation system or a watering device that is not continuously attended, is limited to no more than 15 minutes of watering per day per station, with no watering between 10am and 8pm.
  • Limits on filling decorative fountains or ornamental lakes or ponds: Prohibition of the use of potable water for filling or refilling decorative fountains, ornamental lakes or ponds more than one foot, except when fountains or ponds/lakes are drained for repairs, and except to the extent needed to sustain aquatic life in ponds/lakes, provided that such animals are of significant value and have been actively managed within the water feature prior to declaration of a supply shortage level.
  • Limits on washing vehicles: Washing of vehicles, except at a commercial car washing facility that utilizes recycled water or re-circulating water systems to capture or reuse water.
  • Limit on the use of potable water for washing buildings: Also structures, sidewalks, walkways, driveways, patios, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced, non-porous areas, except to protect the health and safety of the public.


Andy Gere, SJW’s President and Chief Operating Officer, acknowledged in a statement the past conservation efforts of customers. “During every drought, our customers have done extraordinarily well saving water to meet our local emergency conditions,” he said. “We ask them again to put conservation at the forefront so we can meet the 15% goal.”

SJW actively promotes water conservation and continues to encourage our customers to conserve and use water wisely at all times.

More information is available at for all the latest drought news, water conservation tips, and water use restrictions.



  1. Governor Newsom wants to spend Billions to pay-off, back-owed rents to low income renters.

    The Billions to to pay-off, back-owed rents to low income renters is discriminatory per se and is unconstitutional preferential treatment of certain peoples under the law instead of “equal treatment under the law for everyone.” (14th Amendment-USA Constitution)

    The Billions should be spent on potable water infrastructure.

    Again, Recall Newsom with extreme prejudice!

    David S. Wall

  2. Is it the City or the Water Company that is limiting the watering days? Two different entities with different enforcement abilities.

  3. With the natural drought, crumbling infrastructure and persistent lack of power, why do the communities continue to build for more people? We cannot support those of us already here.
    We are becoming a third world world country.

  4. Billions of out of state dollars to buy votes for one of the worst governors ever, but not a dime for for new dams or desalinization plants. Newsom thinks he can buy his way out of a recall election. Time this one party system ends and this guy put down like he was a rabid skunk!
    Wake up California.

  5. All these demeaning comments about the growing class of people unable to pay for basic needs, such as shelter, reveals so much more about the acceptance of the staggering gains of the very rich off the backs of the working class and the poor. It also speaks to how easily people are manipulated into disrespecting the exploited without thought of the actual impact on themselves in the long run.

  6. We could just reduce the amount of water we dump into the pacific ocean down from 80% per year of our water to 70% per year of our water and the “drought emergency” would be over. Or just keep doing what we’re doing and shut down California again. Congratulations on your voting everyone!

  7. This article is missing some essential information. First of all, the reference to “San José Water” refers to the private “San José Water Company” which services most of San José, not to be confused with the San José municipal water service. Second, the summary of restrictions in the article lacks the details needed to be of any practical use. To fill in those details, SJWC customers should click the link in the last paragraph, and *then* when you get *there*, in the section “Water Use Restrictions”, within the paragraph, click on the “See the full list of restrictions here”. (What were they thinking?) Anyhow, in there you will read many important details not stated in the article, for example, that the only restriction on drip irrigation is that it not result in “runoff”.

  8. Why didn’t politicians and planners think of the future when approving all these massive new housing subdivisions and office complexes?

    $$$ Campaign and Political Contributions $$$

  9. More nonsense on the part of the water barons! And then the lapdog media parrots repeat the doom and gloom to a gullible public. They are asking residential users to cut back 15%! Wow, wow, wheezers!

    Only 10% of the water in CA is used for residential purposes. The rest is used for environmental, agricultural, and industrial purposes. Don’t believe it? Here are the facts (from the horses mouth, the State of CA):

    So, by all of us “doing our bit,” it will only reduce the total usage in the state by 1.5%. How, exactly does that help? And to accomplish this minuscule savings, people will spend millions of dollars on water saving devices, lose millions in the loss of their landscaping, and generally waste a lot of their time with what amounts to little more than a token effort.

    In short, your water bill is going to go up And not just homeowners. If you rent, the increased cost will get passed through in your rents (or utility reimbursements expenses).

    Oh, I almost forgot. The water rate always increases during drought, but it is never reduced during wet periods — odd!

    CA needs to build more surface based storage capacity and percolation surface areas (for those of you who are not fluent in governments argot, that means DAMS). Big beautiful hydroelectric producing dams. Or, in the alternative, stop letting people into the state. California is, and always has been, a semi arid state. Droughts aren’t extraordinary, they are within the normal cycle of our ecosystem.

    Oh, wait, I have an idea. Let’s build desalination plants that would be used for residential purposes only. That way we could have all the water we want and help lower the sea level. You’re welcome.

  10. I agree with HB. Only a small percentage of water is going to residents. I used to live in the Santa Cruz mountains and had a well, which went dry. Now I live in San Jose, but I actively limit water usage ever since that experience. I can’t cut an additional 15%. And the last time we did cut usage, San Jose Water raised rates to make up the difference. We can’t fund desalination plants fast enough.

  11. Why can California not build a water pipeline from Oregon or Washington with surplus water reserves?

    We can build pipelines for gas and oil – why not water?

  12. Even your sprinkler systems have things to limit water intake while still keeping your lawn alive. Pro-tip for my neighbors in San Jose, water your grass at night, that way the water has time to make it to the roots of the grass without getting evaporated.

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