Riverside Public Utilities

Don’t Doubt the Drought

A drought is defined as a prolonged period with less-than-average amounts of rain or snow in a region. Temperature and precipitation over the past couple years have been very warm and very dry.

There have been shorter snowpack winters and longer drier summers. This variable climate has become a norm in Southern California and has impacted water supply basins with some storage reaching new record lows of water levels.

Simple Actions Conserve Water and Improve Efficiency

Riverside Public Utilities is prepared to meet the City’s current water supply needs and will continue to promote the efficient use of water, which allows the City to grow and prosper while minimizing the cost to find new water supplies.

View Indoor & Outdoor Water Efficiency and Conservation tips and check out our rebates to help you save.

Water Use Restrictions

While Riverside Public Utilities is prepared to meet your water needs, customers are encouraged to always use water responsibly. As drought conditions persist across the state, the Governor has called for increased water-savings. Customers are urged to take a closer look at their water usage and take necessary actions to increase their water-saving efforts.

Check out our Outdoor and Indoor water rebates to support water-saving efforts.

As a reminder, the wasteful water activities below are prohibited in the City of Riverside per the Water Conservation Ordinance and customers are encouraged to continue to adhere to them.

  • Hosing off sidewalks, driveways, and other hardscapes with drinking water
  • Washing automobiles with hoses not equipped with a shut-off nozzle
  • Using non-recirculated water in a fountain or other decorative water feature
  • Watering lawns in a manner that that causes runoff, or within 48 hours after measurable precipitation
  • Irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians
  • Irrigating within 48 hours of rainfall
  • Substantial irrigation runoff

​​If you see water waste happening in Riverside, please visit RiversideCA.gov/311 to report the activity.​

Drought FAQs

After continuous dry winters and many of California’s largest reservoirs dropping to historic lows, the state of California drought conditions become more severe. Learn more about current drought status by visiting https://www.drought.gov/states/california.

The City of Riverside receives its water from local groundwater basins, which are replenished by rain and snow, though at a lower rate than normal.  Riverside has many years’ worth of water in reserve, while there is no near-term risk to Riverside’s water supplies, there may be a long-term risk.

In March 2022, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order calling for increased water savings from Californians, building on his July 2021 call for voluntary conservation. Currently, the State Water Resources Control Board is reviewing for consideration in implementing new watering regulations. Customers should anticipate for a call to action once new water restrictions are determined.

Additionally, the State is investing and increasing grant and loan opportunities for agencies to improve drought resiliency. Learn more at https://drought.ca.gov.

Surface water includes lakes, rivers, streams, canals, and any other source of water that is located at or near the earth’s surface.  Many agencies in California obtain their water supply from either the California Delta System or from the Colorado River, both surface water sources. 

Groundwater is usually well below the surface (40 feet to over 1,000 feet deep) and is extracted using wells outfitted with pumps and motors.  The City of Riverside obtains its water from ground water sources in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
The City of Riverside has and will continue to promote water use efficiency, which allows the City to grow and prosper while minimizing the cost to find new water supplies. During both wet and dry years, customers are encouraged to use water wisely.
On a short-term basis, Riverside could provide a limited amount of water to other local agencies.  However, Riverside would be constrained by the water rights set forth by a 1969 settlement agreement as well as by its ability to convey water.
Riverside extracts its water from three groundwater basins: Bunker Hill Basin in San Bernardino, Rialto Colton Basin in Colton, and Riverside Basin. Riverside’s water rights are based on natural recharge over a 40-year hydrologic (precipitation) cycle.
Riverside has the right to import water and has infrastructure to do so.  However, Riverside has not relied on imported water since 2008, and does not need it now.
Most of Southern California has access to two major sources of imported water, the Colorado River and California Delta, via the State Water Project.  When Riverside has taken imported water in the past, it mainly came from the California Delta.
If you spot water runoff or other water waste, you may report it through the 311 mobile app or online form.
Western customers can get more information at wmwd.com.