Department of Public Utilities

Water Conservation & Landscaping


On November 1, 2018, the Fresno City Council passed a moratorium on fines related to excessive water use.  Any fines for excessive water use violations incurred after October 1, 2018, will not be enforced until further notice.  Customers who have received a fine on their utility bill for an October violation will receive a credit on an upcoming bill.

Customers will continue to receive notification for excessive water use violations; however associated fines will not be imposed.

This policy will remain in place until further notice.


Conservation provides many benefits. Beyond being mindful of one of our more precious resources, it helps reduce our energy usage because less pumping is required, and it puts less of a demand on our sewer and wastewater infrastructure, meaning less maintenance is required, which helps to keep rates low. Think of it…one of the most valuable water sources we collectively have is the water that is wasted, the water that goes down the drain. Everyone’s conservation efforts are crucial to limiting water and sewer rate increases.

Thanks to the efforts of our residents, over the past five years, there has been a drop in average daily water usage from 329 gallons per person per day down to less than 240 gallons per person per day.

Many of the conservation and landscaping services the City of Fresno offers for our customers are free.


Up to 70% of water use is outside the home—and much of that water is wasted. Save water every day:

  1. Fix leaky faucets.
    Save 15-20 gallons per day per leak.
  2. Fix leaky toilets.
    Save 30-500 gallons of water daily.
    Get a rebate on a new toilet.
  3. Water landscapes only when necessary.
    Follow the City’s mandatory seasonal watering schedule.
  4. Plant water-wise San Joaquin Valley-friendly trees and plants.
    Save 2/3 of the water used compared to non-water-wise plants.
    Get a rebate on converting your lawn to a water-wise garden.
  5. Adjust sprinklers so they don’t water driveways, streets, and sidewalks.
    Save 15-25 gallons per day.
    Learn more about landscaping conservation opportunities.
  6. Use shut-off nozzles on your hoses and use a water broom to clean driveways and sidewalks.
    Save 8-18 gallons per minute.
  7. Run the dishwasher only when full.
    Save 2-4.5 gallons per load.
  8. Only wash full loads of laundry.
    Save 15-50 gallons per load.
    Get a rebate on an energy efficient washing machine.
  9. Take shorter showers and only fill up the bathtub about 1/3 full.
    Save 2.5 gallons per minute.
  10. Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth or shaving.
    Save 2 gallons per minute.


  • Conservation at home—Make sure your children and other family members are aware of the need to conserve water.
  • Conservation at school—Encourage your school system and local government to promote a water conservation ethic among school children and adults.
  • Conservation at work—Encourage your employer to promote water conservation at the workplace. Participate in recycling programs. Paper manufacturing is one of the top five water-consuming industries.
  • Water reuse—Don’t put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning. Reuse fish tank water on your household plants—it makes nice fertilizer, too.
  • Ask for it—Restaurants are encouraged to serve water to customers only upon request, simply because of the large amount of water saved by avoiding washing glasses unnecessarily.
  • Hazardous material disposal—Dispose of hazardous materials properly. One quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water, effectively eliminating that much water from our water supply.
  • Report water waste—Report all significant water waste or losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, misdirected sprinklers, abandoned or free-flowing wells, etc.) to the Water Conservation Division at (559) 621-5480.

Additional Resources from the Web:
American Water Works Association Water Conservation
H2OHouse Water Saver Home

Pools are great for cooling off on a hot summer day, but don’t let your pool become a tool for wasting water. Properly managing your pool to avoid unnecessary draining and refilling can save thousands of gallons of water a year.

  • Pool covers help avoid evaporation—Consider a pool cover when not in use to avoid evaporation. You’ll cut the loss of water by evaporation up to 90 percent. Covering your pool reduces water loss from evaporation and keeps the water level low, minimizing splashing and saves up to 1,000 gallons a month. It also will keep your pool or spa cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals.
  • Recirculating pumps—Equip pools with recirculating pumps.
  • Use kiddie pool to water plants—If you have a shallow kiddie pool, make sure you use the water to feed plants and gardens when you’re done with it.
  • Water recreation for children—Create an awareness of the need for water conservation among your children. Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water. If you do allow children to play in the sprinklers to cool off, make sure it’s only during your water days and time so they can have fun and water the yard at the same time.

A standard garden hose can use 10 gallons per minute or more. This means you can easily use 100 gallons of water with only a 10-minute car or pavement wash.

  • Washing your car at home—When you wash your car, use buckets and sponges instead of a hose. Use the hose only to rinse the soap off. Make sure you have an automatic shut off nozzle attached to the hose. Park the car on or near the lawn so that any water that runs off goes into your landscape, not the gutter.
  • Use a commercial car wash—Use commercial car washes because they capture the used water and recycle it and send it to the wastewater treatment facility.
  • Sweep to clean driveway – Save water by sweeping instead of hosing. Use a broom to clean your driveway and pavement. It is wasteful to hose your pavement to clean it off. Wash down paved surfaces only to alleviate immediate fire or sanitation hazards. Direct any water runoff to water your landscape. Businesses that must spray paved areas for sanitary reasons should use a Water Broom, which uses 2.0 gallons per minute versus a hose and nozzle combination that uses 8-18 gallons per minute.

Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance checkup. For more water efficient cooling, check your evaporative coolers annually. Maintenance is the best way to keep the cooler working efficiently without wasting water. Replacement parts are fairly inexpensive. Following are good maintenance tips:

  • The float can usually be adjusted to make it work properly or it can be replaced. They are fairly inexpensive if replacement is needed.
  • Open hose is prohibited; however, we suggest to the customer that they may want to wet the pads down occasionally and also to replace pads often. Pads are inexpensive.
  • Rusted out pans usually cannot be repaired unless small enough to use a sealant.
  • Bleed-off valve water which prevents mineral buildup on pads can be directed toward landscape. Bleed-off clamps can reduce water use.

The highest water consuming device inside homes are toilets, using about 26.7% of water used in your home.

  • Ultra Low-Flush Toilets—Replace older toilets using over 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf). The new Ultra Low Flush Toilets (ULFT) or High Efficiency Toilets (HET) use 1.6 gpf or less. The City of Fresno offers a rebate to replace your old water-guzzling toilets. Replacing just one older model toilet with a 1.6 gpf ULFT can save a household up to 50 gallons of water each day. An HET toilet, which uses 20% less water per flush than an ULFT, can save even more.
  • Toilet leaks—Toilets are notorious for their silent leaks and can steal thousands of gallons of water. Put a few drops of food coloring to the tank. Do not flush. If the toilet is leaking, the color will appear in the bowl within about 10-15 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded, or bent parts, especially the “flapper” valve. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush immediately after completing the test, since food coloring may stain the tank.)
  • Improve the efficiency of older toilets—If your toilet was made before 1993, you can make it more water efficient. Fill a plastic quart bottle with water and a few pebbles and place in the toilet tank. Keep it away from moving parts. Displacement of water does not affect the efficiency of most toilets and can save water. (Don’t use bricks because they can leave debris in the tank.)
    Unnecessary flushing—Flush toilets only when needed. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.

Shower or Bath? It depends on how long you stay in the shower and how high you fill the tub. A tub filled about 1/3 or less full uses far less water than a long shower. On the other hand, a shorter shower uses less than a full tub.

  • Replace showerhead—Switching from a high-flow showerhead to a high-efficiency one can save thousands of gallons of water a year. All showerheads manufactured in the U.S. after 1992 must restrict flow to 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less. Some models use even less water.
  • Example of water savings:
    Traditional showerhead = 5 gallons/minute x 10 minute shower = 50 gallons water used
    Low flow showerhead  = 2.5 gallons/minute x 10 minute shower = 12.5 gallons water used.
  • Shorter showers—Five minutes or less is best. Create the Shortest Shower Contest for your family. Make a game out of it to save water. Time each family member on how long it takes for their routine shower. You might be surprised at the number. Now that everyone is conscious of their time, see if they can shave some time off.
  • Minimum amount of bath water—Only fill the bathtub about 1/3 full for an adult and much less for bathing babies, small children, and pets. Close the drain before running water. The initial burst of cold water will be warmed by adding hot water later. Check for and repair leaks in the tub diverter valve.
  • Sink water use—Save water when you turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving and washing. Don’t run the water without plugging the sink drain. Water running down the drain is wasted water. Turn faucets off when not in use.
    Faucets, Aerators, Water Pipes, Instant Hot Water—See Kitchen Section


  • Replace your dishwasher—New dishwashers use about 4 to 9 gallons per load. Energy Star appliances use less than 6.5 gallons per load.
  • Run the dishwasher when it’s full—Don’t waste water using the dishwater for small loads. Load the dishwasher fully before operating. Many newer dishwashers require little or no advance rinsing of dishes. Read the instruction manual for your machine to determine if you can minimize rinse water usage.
  • Washing dishes by hand—When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Fill another sink or basin for rinsing. Use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed. Also soak pots and pans before washing.
  • Use garbage disposals less—Kitchen sink disposals require a high level of water (as much as four gallons per minute), to operate properly. Whenever possible, compost food scraps or put them in the garbage rather than using the disposal.
  • Repair faucets—Small drips can add up to 100-300 or more gallons a day. Consider the additional waste if you have more than one dripping faucet in your house. Repair dripping and leaking faucets immediately.
  • Aerators save water—The most effective and inexpensive way to reduce your faucet use is by retrofitting a low-flow faucet aerator on all your household faucets. Aerators save water just by adding air to the water and reducing splashing. They don’t take away the water pressure and increase the spray velocity, but they use a lot less water. For maximum water efficiency, purchase aerators that have flow rates of no more than 1.0 to 1.5 gpm.
  • Insulate water heater and pipes—You will get hot water faster and use less water if your water heater and pipes are insulated, plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
  • Water softening systems—Because of the negative effects of salinity to the land and groundwater, traditional salt based water softeners have been banned in some water districts. Various communities have endorsed legislation to regulate use and availability of self-regenerative water softening appliances that discharge to the community sewer system. Water-softening systems are usually unnecessary, but if you do have one, save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regeneration necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
  • Instant Water Heater—Install an instant water heater for the kitchen so water isn’t wasted while waiting for hot water.
  • Refrigerate drinking water—Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water. Water running in the sink until it is cold is wasteful.
  • Use less in the kettle—If you only need hot water for two cups of tea, why fill the teakettle to the top? Save water and energy by using only what you need.
  • Food thawing and cleaning methods—Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or in the microwave instead of running water over it. Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan.
  • Cooking food—Steam vegetables instead of boiling. Besides using less water, you will retain more vitamins in food. If you must boil foods, use a timer to avoid too much evaporation.

Your clothes washer is the second largest water user in your home.

  • High-efficiency washing machine—Standard washing machines use an average of about 40 gallons of water per load. Energy Star rated washers also have a Water Factor at or lower than 9.5, use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load. Switch to a high-efficiency washing machine and save money on both your water and energy bills. Call the Water Conservation Program to check on rebate availability.
  • Wash full loads—Only wash full loads of laundry to save both water and energy. Washing full loads can save up to 300—800 gallons of water a month
  • Adjust water level—Adjust water level setting if your washer has one. Some loads take less water than others.
    Hand washing—Save hand washing items and do them all together. If possible, use the same sudsy water for several items.


Business-Friendly Program
Fresno’s water system serves a diverse, multi-faceted business community. The Water Conservation Program for Business has been developed to respond to these challenges. The City offers commercial, industrial, and industrial customers an opportunity to evaluate their current water use to promote greater efficiency.

Water efficiency survey and analysis
A free water efficiency analysis is tailored to the size and nature of your business. The survey helps identify where and how much water is being used at your business facility. It includes an evaluation of current water use at the site and a water consumption history.

Free water efficient devices
Recommendations to improve water use efficiency in restrooms, showers, and break areas are also provided. To assist you, free water conserving faucet aerators and showerheads are provided during the survey.

Who is Eligible?
A free water efficiency analysis is available to all commercial, industrial and institutional customers who pay a water bill to the City. No matter what the size or type of your company, it’s smart business to take advantage of the City of Fresno’s free water conservation services.


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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.