Department of Public Utilities

Water Conservation & Landscaping

WATER CONSERVATION & LANDSCAPING:
POLICIES AND SERVICES

Attention Customers — due to the high number of phone calls to our Water Conservation Division, wait times may be higher than normal. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause; our team is working as efficiently as possible to respond to each message. Please leave a voicemail or reach out via email at waterconservation@fresno.gov and a representative from the Water Conservation Division will contact you as soon as possible. Thank you!

The City of Fresno is committed to water conservation and the protection of our water supply.  Water conservation restrictions and enforcement procedures are in place to ensure our community is in compliance with statewide conservation regulations, and to protect this precious resource, ensuring its availability for generations to come.

EyeOnWater Icon

EyeOnWater

Water Schedule Icon

Outdoor Watering Schedule

Violation Appeal Form Icon

Water Conservation Violation Appeal Form

WATER CONSERVATION REGULATIONS

EXCESSIVE WATER USE
On August 29, 2016, the Governor of the State of California signed into law SB 814, which requires the City to adopt a definition of “excessive water use” regarding water usage and establish a method to identify and discourage excessive water use.

With the capabilities of the Smart Meters that have been installed at every residence in the City of Fresno, the City is able to monitor a property’s water usage on an hourly basis.  Customers are also able to monitor their own property’s water usage through the EyeOnWater portal.  As such, the City’s definition of “excessive water use” utilizes the Smart Meter technology and quantifies a specific hourly usage threshold beyond which is considered to be an excessive use of water.

CITY OF FRESNO MUNICIPAL CODE: SEC. 6-501(vv):
“Excessive Water Use” means, for customers in single-family residences or multi-unit housing in which each unit is individually metered or sub-metered, using potable water in excess of 300 gallons per hour during days or hours when outdoor irrigation is prohibited, as recorded by the City during the monthly billing period; as well as, for all water service customers, performing or permitting any action prohibited by Section 6-520 of the Fresno Municipal Code.

WATER CONSERVATION RESTRICTIONS
In addition to “Excessive Water Use,” other water usage restrictions are in place to limit water waste and further the City’s water conservation efforts, in accordance with State of California regulations.

CITY OF FRESNO MUNICIPAL CODE: SEC. 6-520(a): 
In the use of potable water supplied by the city, no customer shall do or permit any of the following:

  1. Water any lawn, landscape, or grounds except by use of a hose held in the person’s hand or a sprinkling device,
  2. Use potable water to irrigate or water outdoor landscaping in a manner that causes runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots or structures,
  3. Keep, maintain, operate, or use any water connection, hose, faucet, hydrant, pipe, outlet, or plumbing fixture which is not tight and free from leakage,
  4. Willfully or negligently wastewater,
  5. Flood any part of the premises of another,
  6. Sprinkle the premises of another so as to prevent the normal use thereof or unreasonably wet objects thereon which should not be subjected to a spray of water except as naturally caused by the elements or by the action of the owner of the object,
  7. Sprinkle or irrigate any yard, ground, premise, or vegetation except as set forth in the City’s adopted Water Shortage Contingency Plan between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.,
  8. Sprinkle or irrigate any yard, ground, premise, or vegetation unless the watering device used is controlled by an automatic shut-off device or a person is in immediate attendance of the hose or watering device,
  9. Wash any privately owned motor vehicle, trailer, or boat except from a bucket or in a commercial car wash, provided a hose equipped with a shut-off nozzle may be used for a quick rinse without causing water to flow onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures,
  10. Wash or rinse with a hose or watering device any sidewalk, driveway, parking area, tennis court, patio, or any other exterior paved area, or
  11. Use potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system.
  12. Irrigate ornamental turf on public street medians with potable water. This does not include trees.
  13. Irrigate outdoor landscapes with potable water during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.
  14. Serve drinking water other than upon request in eating or drinking establishments,
  15. Irrigate 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.
  16. Automatically change towels and linens in hotels and motels daily.

Drain swimming pools more than once every three years. Permits are required and applications must be submitted at least 48 hours in advance.

WATER CONSERVATION ENFORCEMENT

The City enforces “Excessive Water Use” and other water conservation restrictions through both automated enforcement and visual inspection.  All violations are recorded on a customer’s account.  Fines are issued on a monthly basis for any month with one or more recorded violations.

CITY OF FRESNO MUNICIPAL CODE: SEC. 6-520(e): 

  1. Each incident of Excessive Use as defined in Section 6-501, or other use of water by a customer inconsistent with the provisions of this section [Section 6-501(a)], is an incident of water waste.
  2. If a customer has one or more incidents of water waste during a month, as observed directly by City staff or as recorded directly by the City’s water meter reading system, then the customer shall be issued a Notice of Water Waste and be charged fines and penalties as set forth in the Master Fee Schedule.
  3. Incident counts for water waste shall be monitored, recorded, documented and enforced on a monthly basis during the calendar year for individual customers, and the incident counts shall be reset January 1 of each year.

If a customer performs or permits incidents of water waste more than six consecutive months, the water service to the customer may be terminated unless in the opinion of the Director such termination would result in an unreasonable risk to the health and safety of persons. If water service is terminated for a successive incident of water waste, the water service may only be restored upon execution of an agreement with the customer to adhere to the conditions of service described in this section.

WATER CONSERVATION FINES

City of Fresno Master Fee Schedule
Department of Public Utilities
Water Rates
(Effective January 1, 2018)

Conditions of Service Work (related to Water Wastage Services, FMC 6-520(d))
First Incident Notice Only
Second Incident $50.00 (maximum)
Third Incident $100.00 (maximum)
Fourth (or greater) Incident through Calendar Year $200.00 (maximum)

WATER CONSERVATION APPEAL PROCESS

If you wish to appeal a water conservation violation, please fill out the online Application for Appeal of Water Conservation Violation, or contact Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Appeals must be submitted within thirty (30) days of the date of the notice outlining the violation.  Once the application has been received, Water Conservation will investigate the incident and will provide a determination within thirty (30) days.  If you have any questions about your appeal, contact Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.

If a customer objects to the decision of the Water Conservation Program Supervisor, he or she may appeal to the Water Division Manager within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Water Conservation Supervisor’s decision.

If a customer still objects to the decision of the Water Division Manager, he or she may appeal to the Director of Public Utilities within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Water Division Manager’s decision.

Finally, if a customer is still not satisfied with the Director’s decision, the customer may appeal to the Fresno City Council within thirty (30) days of receipt of the Director’s decision.  Customers should contact the City Clerk’s office to request a scheduled time at a City Council meeting.

CITY OF FRESNO MUNICIPAL CODE: SEC. 6-522(g)(5): 
If a water customer objects to the previously mentioned enforcement measures the following appeal process may be used.

Step 1 – The customer may call the Water Conservation Program in order to discuss the incident with the staff person who initiated the enforcement measures.

The staff person has no authority to rescind the enforcement measures. However, upon being contacted by the customer, the staff person shall gather the facts about the incident and explain them to the Water Conservation Program Supervisor, who may decide whether or not to rescind the enforcement measure.

Step 2 – If the customer is not satisfied with the decision of the Water Conservation Program Supervisor, he/she may appeal to the Water Systems Manager who shall review such appeal and render a written decision within thirty days after such appeal.

Step 3 – If the customer is not satisfied with the decision of the Water Systems Manager he/she may appeal to the Director of Public Utilities who shall review such appeal and render a written decision within thirty days after receiving such appeal.

Step 4 –  The customer may make a final appeal directly to the City Council if still not satisfied.

The appeal listed in Step 2 above shall be filed in writing within thirty days of the date of the notice outlining the enforcement measure.  Each subsequent appeal shall be filed in writing within 30 days from the date of the written decision being appealed.

WATER CONSERVATION SERVICES

In order to help the City of Fresno water customers with water conservation and compliance, the Water Conservation Division offers a variety of resources and free services, including:

  • Water-wise landscape consultation
  • Irrigation efficiency audit
  • Help setting irrigation timers
  • Interior / exterior water leak surveys

More information about these services can be found on the Leak & Irrigation Efficiency Survey

A number of rebates and coupons are also available for customers to offset some costs related to turf conversion, the purchase of high-efficiency appliances, and other water conservation measures.  Visit the Rebates & Coupons page for additional information.

WATER CONSERVATION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

VIOLATIONS

1. What if I don’t know how much water I’m using? 
The City of Fresno offers the EyeOnWater customer portal, which is a web-based customer portal that enables utility customers to view and understand their water usage profile through easy-to-understand consumption graphics and provides a simple method to establish alerts to better manage their water use.  Visit http://fresno.eyeonwater.com/signup to register for this free tool.  You will need your account number as it appears on your utility bill.  If you don’t have a copy of your utility bill, contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to obtain your account number.  If you do not have access to a computer, call Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Staff can review with you the water use for your address.

2. What if I have a single violation that I correct immediately?  Can the violation be removed from my record (can my violation counts be reset)?
As per the Fresno Municipal Code, violations are reset at the beginning of every year.  Additionally, customers will receive a Notice of Violation for their first violation – fines are only issued for any subsequent violations after a Notice of Violation is issued.  The City acknowledges that violations may sometimes occur due to circumstances outside of a customer’s control.

An appeal process, as set forth in the Fresno Municipal Code, is in place to contest a violation.  Fill out the online Application for Appeal of Water Conservation Violation or contact the Water Conservation staff at (559) 621-5480 to begin the appeal process.

3. Can the City just call me to notify me of a one-time violation to bring it to my attention so that I can correct the problem, rather than adding the violation to my record?
Unfortunately, City staff does not have the capacity to monitor each individual customer’s account to identify a violation and notify that customer.  Customers are encouraged to sign up for the EyeOnWater customer portal, which is a web-based customer portal that enables utility customers to view and understand their water usage profile through easy-to-understand consumption graphics and provides a simple method to establish alerts to better manage their water use.  EyeOnWater includes a “leak alert” notification feature, which customers can set up to be alerted immediately about water use above a specified threshold.  This feature allows customers to be notified immediately of any problems so that they can make any necessary corrections or repairs.

Visit http://fresno.eyeonwater.com/signup to register for this free tool.  You will need your account number as it appears on your utility bill.  If you don’t have a copy of your utility bill, contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to obtain your account number.  If you do not have access to a computer, call Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Staff can review with you the water use for your address.

4. Can I be notified of a violation immediately via email, rather than finding out about it days later through a mailed letter?
The City does not currently have the capability to email violation notices – all notices and fines are sent via postal mail.

Customers are encouraged to sign up for the EyeOnWater customer portal, which is a web-based customer portal that enables utility customers to view and understand their water usage profile through easy-to-understand consumption graphics and provides a simple method to establish alerts to better manage their water use.  EyeOnWater includes a “leak alert” notification feature, which customers can set up to be alerted immediately about water use above a specified threshold.  This feature allows customers to be notified immediately of any problems so that they can make any necessary corrections or repairs.

Visit http://fresno.eyeonwater.com/signup to register for this free tool.  You will need your account number as it appears on your utility bill.  If you don’t have a copy of your utility bill, contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to obtain your account number.  If you do not have access to a computer, call Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Staff can review with you the water use for your address.

5. What if a pipe breaks and it uses a lot of water on a restricted day?
The City acknowledges that violations may sometimes occur due to circumstances outside of a customer’s control.  Ultimately, though, customers are responsible for monitoring their own water use.

An appeal process, as set forth in the Fresno Municipal Code, is in place to contest a violation.  Contact the Water Conservation staff at (559) 621-5480 to begin the appeal process.

Customers are encouraged to sign up for the EyeOnWater customer portal, which is a web-based customer portal that enables utility customers to view and understand their water usage profile through easy-to-understand consumption graphics and provides a simple method to establish alerts to better manage their water use.  EyeOnWater includes a “leak alert” notification feature, which customers can set up to be alerted immediately about water use above a specified threshold.  This feature allows customers to be notified immediately of any problems so that they can make any necessary corrections or repairs.

Visit http://fresno.eyeonwater.com/signup to register for this free tool.  You will need your account number as it appears on your utility bill.  If you don’t have a copy of your utility bill, contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to obtain your account number.  If you do not have access to a computer, call Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Staff can review with you the water use for your address.

6. What if I need to fill my pool and it can’t be completed during the proper watering hours?
Per the Fresno Municipal Code, draining swimming pools more than once every three years is prohibited, except as necessary to complete structural repairs or to comply with public health standards.  Residents with private swimming pools must submit a written application for a Swimming Pool Draining Permit with the Water Division at least 48 hours prior to draining the pool.  Pools may not be drained until applications are reviewed and approved by the City.

Swimming pools shall only be filled between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on permitted watering days. Newly constructed or refurbished swimming pools may be filled by a standard hose up to ¾” during other hours to avoid damage to tile and plaster.

Regular swimming pool filling to replenish water loss due to evaporation or use must be completed during the appropriate outdoor watering hours.  Customers are encouraged to make sure their auto-fill timers are set appropriately to avoid any violations due to pool auto-fills.

7.  What if I need to use water on a restricted day while repairs are made to my irrigation system?
If it is absolutely necessary to repair irrigation on a restricted day, please contact a Water Conservation representative at (559) 621-5480 before you do so to discuss your options.

8. What if someone steals my water, thereby causing me to use water on restricted days?
The City acknowledges that violations may sometimes occur due to circumstances outside of a customer’s control.  Ultimately, though, customers are responsible for monitoring their own water use.

An appeal process, as set forth in the Fresno Municipal Code, is in place to contest a violation.  Contact the Water Conservation staff at (559) 621-5480 to begin the appeal process.

If you have a regular problem with water theft, contact Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480 to discuss your options.

9.    What if I was on vacation and an unexpected leak occurred in my yard and it ran for several days?
The City acknowledges that violations may sometimes occur due to circumstances outside of a customer’s control.  Ultimately, though, customers are responsible for monitoring their own water use.

An appeal process, as set forth in the Fresno Municipal Code, is in place to contest a violation.  Contact the Water Conservation staff at (559) 621-5480 to begin the appeal process.

Customers are encouraged to sign up for the EyeOnWater customer portal, which is a web-based customer portal that enables utility customers to view and understand their water usage profile through easy-to-understand consumption graphics and provides a simple method to establish alerts to better manage their water use.  EyeOnWater includes a “leak alert” notification feature, which customers can set up to be alerted immediately about water use above a specified threshold.  This feature allows customers to be notified immediately of any problems so that they can make any necessary corrections or repairs.

Visit http://fresno.eyeonwater.com/signup to register for this free tool.  You will need your account number as it appears on your utility bill.  If you don’t have a copy of your utility bill, contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to obtain your account number.  If you do not have access to a computer, call Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Staff can review with you the water use for your address.

10. What if my sprinkler system keeps getting vandalized, thereby causing leaks?
The City acknowledges that violations may sometimes occur due to circumstances outside of a customer’s control.  Ultimately, though, customers are responsible for monitoring their own water use.

An appeal process, as set forth in the Fresno Municipal Code, is in place to contest a violation.  Contact the Water Conservation staff at (559) 621-5480 to begin the appeal process.

If you have a regular problem with vandalism, contact Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480 to discuss your options.

11. What if my ailing family member has a leak but I cannot make watering adjustments at the moment?
The City acknowledges that violations may sometimes occur due to circumstances outside of a customer’s control.  Customers are encouraged to make corrections or repairs as soon as possible.  Ultimately, though, customers are responsible for monitoring their own water use.

An appeal process, as set forth in the Fresno Municipal Code, is in place to contest a violation.  Contact the Water Conservation staff at (559) 621-5480 to begin the appeal process.

Customers are encouraged to sign up for the EyeOnWater customer portal, which is a web-based customer portal that enables utility customers to view and understand their water usage profile through easy-to-understand consumption graphics and provides a simple method to establish alerts to better manage their water use.  EyeOnWater includes a “leak alert” notification feature, which customers can set up to be alerted immediately about water use above a specified threshold.  This feature allows customers to be notified immediately of any problems so that they can make any necessary corrections or repairs.

Visit http://fresno.eyeonwater.com/signup to register for this free tool.  You will need your account number as it appears on your utility bill.  If you don’t have a copy of your utility bill, contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to obtain your account number.  If you do not have access to a computer, call Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Staff can review with you the water use for your address.

12. Will the City fine itself for flooding medians or watering on the wrong days/times?
All customers are subject to watering regulations. Water issue reports are directed immediately to the appropriate City department for correction.

13. What does the City do with the fine revenue that is collected?
All revenue from fines is deposited in the Water Enterprise Fund to fund Operations & Maintenance activities, debt service payments, capital improvements and provide adequate reserves.

14. What if I get a fine and I can’t afford to pay it?
Contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to ask about payment options.

15. If I get too many fines, can my water be turned off?
Per Fresno Municipal Code, if a customer has more than six consecutive months of water waste, water service may be terminated.  Water service is subject to termination for non-payment or non-compliance with regulations in Fresno Municipal Code 6-520.

16. Is there a process to protest a fine?
If you wish to appeal a water conservation violation, please fill out the online Application for Appeal of Water Conservation Violation, or contact Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Appeals must be submitted within thirty (30) days of the date of the notice outlining the violation.  Once the application has been received, Water Conservation will investigate the incident and will provide a determination within thirty (30) days.

If you have any questions about your appeal, contact Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.

WATER METERS & TECHNOLOGY

1. How do I know my meter is accurate and is reading the correct time and gallons?
The accuracy of water meters is based on the American Water Works Association (AWWA) standards. The Water Division has a meter testing program and can test meters for accuracy if needed.

Individual water meters record consumption on an hourly basis and report to the system every six hours via a radio frequency signal to strategically placed gateways throughout the City.  The gateways then transmit, via a cellular backhaul, the reads gathered from multiple meter endpoints to a server located at the City.  These reads are then forwarded to the Beacon data management system and are used for City/customer interface and billing.

2. What do I do if I think my meter isn’t recording accurately?
For help understanding your water meter readings, or for any concerns regarding incorrect meter read data, contact Water Conservation representatives at (559) 621-5480.

3. I have a larger water meter – 1 1/2 inches.  How does the City determine “excessive use” for non-standard single-family residential meter sizes?
All single-family residential water meters, including non-standard meters – are held to the same excessive water use standard in the Fresno Municipal Code.

4. How does the City know my water was used for landscaping/outdoor watering?
“Excessive Water Use” is defined for customers in single-family residences as the use of potable water in excess of 300 gallons per hour during days or hours when outdoor irrigation is prohibited.  This is a very high hourly use that the City has asserted is not compatible with indoor use only.  For example, one bathtub holds around 100 gallons – a customer would need to fill three bathtubs to the brim within an hour in order to exceed the threshold.

5. I received a letter (notice) and called the City.  They said the meter report shows days the meter did not read and the use was estimated.  How does it happen that the meter does not read?  Why will I be fined based on an estimate?
Occasionally, individual water meters experience transmission errors that need to be corrected by Water Division staff.  In this case, water consumption data is estimated, based on a number of variables.

Fines will not be issued based on estimated consumption data.  Properties are still subject to violations if Water Conservation staff observes outdoor watering during prohibited hours.

6. What if my sprinkler timers act up, or my power goes out causing my timers to reset, and they cause me to water during a prohibited day/time without my knowledge?
The City acknowledges that violations may sometimes occur due to circumstances outside of a customer’s control.  Customers are encouraged to make corrections or repairs as soon as possible.  Ultimately, though, customers are responsible for monitoring their own water use.

An appeal process, as set forth in the Fresno Municipal Code, is in place to contest a violation.  Fill out the online Application for Appeal of Water Conservation Violation, or contact Water Conservation staff at (559) 621-5480 to begin the appeal process.

Customers are encouraged to sign up for the EyeOnWater customer portal, which is a web-based customer portal that enables utility customers to view and understand their water usage profile through easy-to-understand consumption graphics and provides a simple method to establish alerts to better manage their water use.  EyeOnWater includes a “leak alert” notification feature, which customers can set up to be alerted immediately about water use above a specified threshold.  This feature allows customers to be notified immediately of any problems so that they can make any necessary corrections or repairs.

Visit http://fresno.eyeonwater.com/signup to register for this free tool.  You will need your account number as it appears on your utility bill.  If you don’t have a copy of your utility bill, contact Utilities Billing & Collections at (559) 621-6888 to obtain your account number.  If you do not have access to a computer, call Water Conservation at (559) 621-5480.  Staff can review with you the water use for your address.

For assistance with setting your sprinkler timers, contact the Water Conservation Program at (559) 621-5480.

WATERING RESTRICTIONS

1. Can I report water waste if I see it?
Yes, customers are encouraged to report water waste by contacting the Water Conservation Program at (559) 621-5480 or use the FresGo app

2. Can I water outside on restricted days/times if I use less than 300 gallons per hour?
Customers should only irrigate their landscape according to the outdoor watering schedule.  With the use of automated enforcement, water use below 300 gal/hr is waived to allow for ample indoor water use, but those customers should still adhere to the outdoor irrigation watering schedule to avoid exceeding the legal threshold.

3. I have a large lot and expensive landscaping that I need to water more often than the City allows.  Can I get an exemption?
All single-family residential water meters are held to the same excessive water use standard in the Fresno Municipal Code.  The City has consulted with horticulturists and determined that the water schedule allows for enough irrigation time for healthy lawns.

Water Conservation also offers other free services to customers, including:

  • Water-wise landscape consultation
  • Irrigation efficiency audit
  • Help setting irrigation timers
  • Interior / exterior water leak surveys
  • Rebate information

4. My utility bill shows that I use less water than the average water user in Fresno.  Why am I still getting a notice/fine?
Thank you for helping the City of Fresno conserve water.  Unfortunately, the Fresno Municipal Code does not allow for exceptions based on the history of water use.  Customers should still follow the watering schedule, regardless of their overall water consumption.

5. What if I install a new lawn and landscape and need to water every day for a couple of weeks?
Contact the Water Conservation Program at (559) 621-5480 to find out if you qualify for a new lawn or new landscape permit.

If, because of an emergency, it is absolutely necessary to irrigate outdoor landscaping on a restricted day, please contact a Water Conservation representative at (559) 621-5480 before you do so to discuss your options.

OTHER CUSTOMERS

1. My neighbor is watering on the right day but flooding my yard at 3:00 am.  Is it true that no one from the City can come to see what’s happening at that time so I can prove it?
Customers are encouraged to report water waste by contacting the Water Conservation Program at (559) 621-5480. A representative may not be available to visually investigate at that time, however a plan to eliminate the watering issue will be implemented.

2. My neighbor has a leak in their drip line that only shows up when they irrigate at 11:00 pm.  They irrigate on the correct day/time and don’t overwater.  I have told them about it, but they don’t do anything to correct the problem.  Is there anything the City can do?
Yes, customers are encouraged to report water waste by contacting Water Conservation representatives at (559) 621-5480.

Customers are encouraged to report water waste by contacting the Water Conservation Program at (559) 621-5480. A representative may not be available to visually investigate at that time, however, a plan to eliminate the watering issue will be implemented.

No Fee Leak & Irrigation Efficiency Survey

The City of Fresno is your conservation partner. Do you want to find out if there are leaks in your home? What about your landscape irrigation system, is that as efficient as it can be? We’re here to help you with these Free services.