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loch lomond january 2014
Loch Lomond Reservoir, January 2014 (photo by Judie Cole)

Drought Update -- April 16, 2014

For a weekly update on statewide drought conditions, click here.

The Water Department will be active in the community in April. We'll be where you are to provide information on rationing, and on ways to save water so that you stay within your ration. To see a calendar of where we'll be, click here. You are also welcome to stop by the conservation office for information and free water-saving devices.

Questions About Rationing? Please Join Us for a "Rationing 101" Meeting

The Water Department will host two open-house style meetings to share information with the community on rationing. Learn how to stay within your water ration by learning what your allotment is, how to read your meter and water bill, and ways to conserve water at home both indoors and outdoors. Staff will be on hand to answer all your questions and provide free water-saving devices. The first meeting will be held Wednesday, April 16, from 5:30-7:30pm at Louden Nelson Community Center, 301 Center Street. The second meeting will be held Monday, April 21, from 5:30-7:30pm at Live Oak Grange Hall, 1900 17th Avenue. 

For water conservation tips for residential properties, click here.

This is the time of year when folks start thinking about their summer gardens. With rationing coming May 1, the Water Department advises customers to think carefully before planting. All new plants take water to get established, even drought-tolerant plants. If you are going to plant, take a look at some of the "Real People, Real Savings" on the Save Our Water website, for drought-friendly landscape ideas.

Rationing will begin May 1. Detailed information on rationing, statewide drought conditions and drought resources can be found below.


On February 25, 2014, after reviewing continued extreme drought conditions, the City Council passed a resolution declaring a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency within the City of Santa Cruz water service area. Stage 3 is a level of water shortage requiring significant action by the community to reduce system-wide water use by 25%, to avoid using our limited water storage.

The three primary measures to be put in place in a Stage 3 Water Shortage Emergency are:

  • Enforced water rationing for single family and multi-family residential accounts.
  • Significantly scaled back water budgets for large irrigation accounts.
  • Mandatory water assessments, conservation plans and signage for commercial accounts.


When will rationing begin, and how is rationing enforced?

Rationing will begin May 1, 2014. Each household will be given a water allotment. If household water use goes over the allotment, penalties will be added to the bill. Penalties can add up quickly.

For information on residential water allotments and penalties for using more than your allotment, click here. ASIGNACION DE AGUA PARA SU RESIDENCIA EN ESPANOL

For detailed information on rationing water restrictions, click here.

For the Application for Additional Water Allotment for Large Single Family Households, click here.

For Multi-Family accounts, complete the two-page Application for a Multi-Family Census Based Allotment.

Here are some guidelines to stay within your ration:


  • Calculate your water allotment.
  • Read your water meter and understand your water bill.
  • Know where your water goes!


  • Fix leaks.
  • Install aerators on sinks and low-flow showerheads in bathrooms -- available for FREE from the Water Department.
  • Utilize City rebates to replace toilets, washing machines and turf.


  • Limit showers to 5 minutes or less.
  • Turn off landscape irrigation, such as sprinkler systems.
  • Only run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.

For information on ways to save water at home, click here.

For information on savings for commercial properties, click here.


Drought Resources 

Department of Water Resources  - State Drought Information
Governor Brown's Drought State of Emergency Proclamation
Drought Monitor Map
Santa Cruz Water Supply Outlook

Current Water Conditions in Santa Cruz

Stage 1 Water Restrictions are still in Effect
Weekly Water Conditions

Water Conservation

Save Our Water
Water Conservation Tips
Water Use Calculator
Free Water Conservation Devices
How to Read your Water Meter
Greywater Information
How to Check for Leaks
Help Your Trees Survive the Drought


Santa Cruz Water Shortage Contingency Plan

Media Contact:
Eileen Cross

Last updated: 4/16/2014 10:41:45 AM