Drought Response and Water Conservation

Drought Response and Water Conservation

In July 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order calling for Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15% from 2020. As of June 2022, that goal is not being met. Following the driest first three months of a year in the state’s recorded history, Governor Newsom signed another Executive Order in March 2022 directing water suppliers to implement new water conservation measures effective immediately. These new rules affect all Elk Grove residents and businesses.

Elk Grove is served by the Elk Grove Water District and the Sacramento County Water Agency. Both water districts are implementing their water shortage contingency plans – with a goal to reduce overall water usage by 20%. Find your purveyor to see who delivers your water. 

Learn more about Elk Grove's water conservation plan and California's drought

You can read the Governor's March 2022 Executive Order.
You can find more information about the State Water Resources Control Board's Emergency regulation.

When Can You Water?

Your street address and who delivers your water determines when you can irrigate. 

Watering Schedule for Elk Grove Water District Customers

Addresses Ending In Watering Days Permitted Irrigation Time of Day
Odd Number (1,3,5,7,9) Tuesday, Friday Between the hours of 8pm-8am
Even Number (0,2,4,6,8)  Monday, Thursday

Watering Schedule for Sacramento County Water Agency Customers

Addresses Ending In Watering Days Permitted Irrigation Time of Day
Odd Number (1,3,5,7,9) Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Between the hours of 8pm-8am
Even Number (0,2,4,6,8) Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

Note that these restrictions are not from the City of Elk Grove as we are not a water purveyor. The Elk Grove Water District and the Sacramento County Water Agency are the primary service providers in the Elk Grove area. Each water agency is responsible for determining the level of rationing or restrictions for their service area. More detailed information can be found on the water district websites:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I water my trees?

Water your trees, stress your lawn. Grass can be easily replaced if it dies or goes dormant for a year. If you lose a tree, it could be 20+ years before you get the shade it provided back.

Can I replace my lawn with artificial turf?

Replacing grass or natural turf with artificial turf is allowed in Elk Grove. Artificial turf must be pervious surface (allows for water to drain through it into the ground). Many styles of quality artificial turf exist that look great and drains like real grass. It's always important to check CC&Rs if you live in an area governed by an HOA, as specific neighborhoods might have different regulations not enforced by the City of Elk Grove.

Does the City have regulations regarding restricting the replacement of grass to drought friendly landscaping?

It depends on the area of the City. Certain neighborhoods require turf through CC&R’s regulated by their neighborhood associations while others do not have specific regulations.

Where can I find the regulations regarding turf replacement?

Most rules for landscaping can be found in Chapter 23.54 of the Municipal Code. Additional rules apply in some locations. Consult your Homeowners Association (HOA) and/or Neighborhood Association and your home’s CC&R's to determine if any special restrictions exist in your neighborhood.

Does lawn replacement require approval from the Planning Department?

No permits are required unless irrigation is proposed.

Do you have a list of reliable and competent vendors for this kind of project?

As a matter of policy, the City does not provide recommendations for vendors.

I'm on a corner lot. Can I replace the turf outside of my side yard fence?

Turf within landscape easements can be removed, but must be replaced with vegetation and cannot be left as bare dirt. While the City of Elk Grove does not require particular plants for this replacement, it is required that at full maturity, the plants cover at least fifty percent (50%) of the converted area, and that the plants not be high water use or invasive species. A homeowner can use any low and/or medium water use plants to meet this requirement; however, the City highly encourages the use of drought tolerant and native species. An applicant should also consider keeping any existing trees because they provide shade to one's home and landscape.

My property has a meandering/detached sidewalk and there is a strip of turf between that and the street. Can I replace it?

Turf within landscape easements cannot be removed and left as bare dirt. If you want to remove the turf, it must be replaced with plants which, when fully mature, cover at least fifty percent (50%) of the converted area. If you do replace this turf, it’s important to install stepping stones or walkways to allow pedestrian traffic to/from the street to avoid damaging the vegetation.

Why can't I leave these landscape areas as bare dirt?

The City wants to ensure that neighborhoods maintain attractive landscape areas within residential neighborhoods. Trees, shrubs, and groundcovers provide shade, absorb carbon dioxide, supply oxygen, reduce soil erosion, decrease energy use, reduce storm water runoff, reduce fugitive dust, and ultimately save water.

Can I let my lawn die?

While in most cases the City of Elk Grove will not be enforcing Code cases regarding dead lawns, if you do not intend to replace the turf with alternative landscaping, it is recommended that you provide water to your lawn at least once a week to keep it from dying. No matter what, dry vegetation must be maintained to reduce fire danger.

Does the City have any recommendations for replacing my lawn?

There are hundreds of plants that use very little, if any, water. With proper design and plant selection, a homeowner can accomplish almost any look or feel and still save water.

Reporting Water Waste

What can the City enforce?
Per the Elk Grove Municipal Code, the City can only enforce the reporting of excess water (running off) into the storm drain. City Code Enforcement can open a case for the runoff portion only. If you have a complaint that meets these parameters, contact Code Enforcement at (916) 687-3023 or by using SeeClickFix.
Who do I report watering day/time violations?
You will need to contact the water purveyor to report a violation for usages on an unauthorized day or time. The City is not authorized to enforce other agencies regulations.
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How You Can Help Around the House

Learn simple habits to help reduce water use inside your home

  • Fill Bathtub Halfway or Less

    Filling up your bathtub halfway or less can save 17-25 gallons of water per person every bath.
  • Fix Leaks

    Fixing leaks inside and outside the home can save 27 to 90 gallons of water each day.
  • Install Aerators

    Installing aerators can save .7 gallons per minute.
  • Install High-Efficiency Toilets

    Installing high-efficiency toilets can save 6-35 gallons per day.
  • Recycle Indoor Water and Irrigate Your Garden

    Recycling indoor water to use outdoors can cut water use by 30%.
  • Take 5-minute Showers

    Keeping showers under 5 minutes can save 12.5 gallons per shower when using a water-efficient showerhead.
  • Turn Off Water When Brushing Teeth, Shaving

    - By turning off the water when brushing teeth or shaving you can save 8 gallons of water per person per day.
  • Wash Full Loads of Clothes and Dishes

    Washer: saves 15–45 gallons per load. Dishwasher: saves 5–15 gallons per load.
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How You Can Help Around the Yard

Learn simple habits to help reduce water use outside your home

  • Use Water-wise Plants

    Check with your local water agency on the best plants for your area. It is best to use water-wise, California-native plants when possible.
  • Install Drip Irrigation & Add a Smart Controller

    Installing a drip irrigation system and a smart controller can save 15 gallons each time you water.
  • Reimagine Your Yard

    Feed your vegetables and fruits water first because they feed you! Water-wise plants and shade trees use little or no water once established. Thirsty plants such as lawn and container plants are the lowest priority.
  • Use a Broom to Clean Outdoor Areas

    Using a broom to clean outdoor areas can save 6 gallons every minute.
  • Use Drought-resistant Trees, Plants

    Using drought-resistant plants and trees can save 30–60 gallons per 1000 sq. ft. each time.
  • Set Mower Blades to 3”

    Setting mower blades to three inches or more encourages deeper roots and saves 16–50 gallons per day.
  • Adjust Sprinkler Heads & Fix Leaks

    Saves 12–15 gallons each time you water and a leak about as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month!
  • Use Mulch

    Using mulch can save 20–30 gallons of water per 1000 sq. ft. each time you water.

Converting existing grass or turf with native and drought tolerant landscaping could qualify Sacramento County Water Agency customers for a Cash For Grass rebate program.

Additional Reasons for Conserving Water

conserving energy

Limited Availability

Only 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater while only 0.5% is available for us to drink.

conserving energy

Conserving Energy

Conserving water also reduces the energy that is required to deliver it to communities, thus helping to reduce pollution and conserve fuel resources.

conserving energy

Saving Money

When you make use of simple water conservation techniques, you are saving thousands of gallons of water each year and you will be charged less for it.