After an unusually wet rainy season, most of California was pulled out of a severe drought. However, climate change has made the state’s dry and wet spells more extreme and unpredictable. Also, Riverside water comes from groundwater basins that take several wet years to recover. Water use efficiency and conservation are important for all Californians, and RPU is committed to water reliability now and into the future.
On March 24, 2023, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-5-23, which reduced emergency drought requirements. Below is a summary of what regulations ended in June 2023 and which remain applicable to Riverside:
- Ends the voluntary 15% water conservation target, while continuing to encourage that Californians make conservation a way of life
- Ends the requirement that local water agencies implement Level 2 of their drought contingency plans
- Maintains the ban on wasteful water uses, such as irrigation runoff, hosing driveways or sidewalks, etc.
- Maintains the ban on watering nonfunctional turf grass on commercial properties. This regulation was readopted by the State Water Resources Control Board and will be in effect through June 2024.
STEP UP YOUR WATER SAVING EFFORTS
As a reminder, the wasteful water activities below are always prohibited in the City of Riverside per the Water Conservation Ordinance regardless of shortage level or drought emergency order.
- Irrigation runoff
- Use of hoses dispensing potable water without a shut-off nozzle
- Hosing driveways or sidewalks
- Use of potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system
- Outdoor watering during and within 48 hours of measurable rainfall
- Serving drinking water other than upon request in eating/drinking establishments
- Irrigation with potable water of landscapes outside of newly constructed homes and buildings in a manner inconsistent with regulations or other requirements established by the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development
If you see water waste happening in Riverside, please visit RiversideCA.gov/311 to report the activity.
Check out our Outdoor and Indoor water rebates to support water-saving efforts and follow these additional Indoor & Outdoor Water Efficiency and Conservation tips to help stretch our water supplies further into the future.
Save Our Water & Our City of Trees
Drought conditions are expected to intensify in the future so we need to make sure we’re using water responsibly and making every drop count. This includes prioritizing your trees. Trees are investments that would take more water, time, and money to replace if lost to drought versus keeping them alive. So, remember to give those trees the TLC they need year-round. A properly watered tree is more resilient to drought and disease.
Follow these quick Tree Care Tips:
- Mulch to conserve moisture
- Newly planted trees (less than two years old) will need five gallons of water, once a week. A bucket is great for this. Water the area under the dripline.
- Young trees (less than three years old) are starting to get established and require a deep watering of ten gallons, once every two weeks under the dripline.
- Mature trees (older than 3 years) need deep watering. Water deeply within the dripline when the top six inches of soil around your mature tree has dried out or once per month.
Learn more Tree Care Tips by visiting:
Yes, trees provide multiple benefits to the community and environment. Trees should be irrigated appropriately to meet their water needs. You can find more information and resources on watering trees by visiting the following websites:
Maintaining a Healthy Landscape in a Drought | Helpful Tips (PDF)
Eastern Municipal Water District | emwd.org
Western Municipal Water District | wmwd.com/drought
Save Water and Money with RPU Rebates | RiversidePublicUtilities.com/Rebates
Save Water. Save California | SaveOurWater.com
Save Our Water and Our Trees | California ReLeaf
California Urban Forests Council | Growing Trees Make Great Communities
State Water Resources Control Board | FAQ (Updated June 6, 2022)