Department of Public Utilities

Water Conservation Program

Exemption Requests

Customers may apply for an exemption from the approved Outdoor Water Use Schedule on either a long-term or short-term basis.  Information about each type of exemption can be found below.

For the quickest application turnaround time, customers are encouraged to complete and submit an electronic version of the exemption form:

Long-Term (Annual) Exemption Application
Short-Term Exemption Application

Completed forms should be sent to the Water Conservation Program at:

City of Fresno Water Division
Water Conservation Program
1910 E. University Avenue
Fresno, CA 93703
or
waterconservation@fresno.gov

Long-Term (Annual) Exemptions

The following properties may submit an application for a one-year exemption to the approved Outdoor Water Use Schedule:

  1. Properties with multiple addresses;
  2. Properties with turfed or landscaped areas of two acres or larger;
  3. Properties without street addresses.

Properties with drip irrigation systems for community or residential fruit and vegetable gardens and fruit trees may also qualify for a Long-Term Exemption from the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule.

Property owners must submit a Long-Term (Annual) Exemption Application that includes a proposed alternate outdoor water use schedule for more frequent watering or different water use days than allowed by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule.

Once a request is received, a Landscape Water Conservation Specialist will schedule a visit to the property to evaluate the size of the turf and landscaping to be irrigated to ensure it meets the exemption requirements.  If irrigation systems can be adjusted to maintain the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule without harming plant material, the exemption request shall be denied.  If irrigation systems cannot be adjusted to maintain the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule, staff shall work with the property owner to either approve or modify the proposed alternate water use schedule to ensure that the alternate schedule allows for the proper amount of outdoor water use for the landscaping needs while utilizing appropriate water conservation measures.

Once a property is confirmed to qualify for a Long-Term Exemption, the Water Conservation Program will issue an Annual Exemption Permit, which will expire at the end of the calendar year.  Permits will not automatically renew each year.  By December 1 of each year, the Water Conservation Program will send out notices to all properties with Long-Term Exemption Permits to notify property owners of the upcoming expiration of the permit and will provide a renewal application that can be submitted.  Applications must be re-submitted each year and an evaluation of the property must be completed to confirm that the property continues to qualify for a Long-Term Exemption.

Short-Term Exemptions

The following properties may submit an application for a short-term exemption from the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule for a specific time period not to exceed one month:

  1. Properties with new lawns not yet established;
  2. Properties seeking to use water for a bona fide use, such as solar panel cleaning or other use necessary for health or preservation or property.

Property owners must submit a Short-Term Exemption Application that includes a proposed modified outdoor water use schedule for more frequent watering or different water use days than allowed by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule.  Applications must be submitted no less than 2 business days before the proposed non-compliant water usage.

Once a request is received, Water Conservation Program staff will evaluate the application and either approve or deny the permit.

Once a Short-Term Exemption Permit has been approved, the Water Conservation Program will issue a Short-Term Exemption Permit, which will include the date(s) for which the permit is valid.  Permits will be emailed to customers if an email address is provided.  If a customer does not have access to email, the permit shall be sent via U.S. Postal Mail.

Types of Short-Term Exemptions

Before proceeding with any of the activities listed below, property owners must obtain a Short-Term Exemption Permit from the Water Conservation Program.  Property owners must submit a Short-Term Exemption Application that includes a proposed modified outdoor water use schedule for more frequent watering or different water use days than allowed by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule.  Applications must be submitted no less than 2 business days before the proposed non-compliant water usage.

New Lawn Establishment
Customers may be allowed more frequent watering than permitted by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule for the establishment of a new lawn.  These exemptions will be allowed for a maximum of 30 days.  New Lawn Permits are not available for over-seeding existing lawns.

Solar Panel Cleaning
The Water Conservation Program acknowledges that regular maintenance of solar panels requires the use of water for cleaning.  Customers may be allowed to use water outdoors on a different day than allowed by the Outdoor Water Use Schedule for the purpose of cleaning solar panels.

Special Event
Customers may be allowed to use water outdoors on a different day than allowed by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule for a special event, such as a birthday party, that features a water-based activity.  Such activities must comply with other water conservation rules and regulations, including the use of shut-off nozzles on hoses, and must not result in water running off the property or onto non-landscaped areas (i.e. – driveways, sidewalks or other paved areas).

Established Swimming Pool Drain and Fill
Customers may be allowed to use water outdoors on a different day than allowed by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule to drain and fill an established swimming pool.

Pursuant to the Fresno Municipal Code, Section 6-520(a)(16), customers are not permitted to drain swimming pools more than once every three years, except as necessary to complete structural repairs or to comply with public health standards.  Supporting documentation must be provided if a pool drain is required sooner than three years from the last drain.

New/Refurbished Swimming Pool Complete Fill
Pursuant to the Fresno Municipal Code, Section 6-520(a)(17), customers may be allowed to use water outdoors on a different day than allowed by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule to completely fill a new or refurbished swimming pool.

Other Bona Fide Use
Customers may be allowed to use water outdoors on a different day than allowed by the current Outdoor Water Use Schedule for any bona fide use that has not been specifically identified.  Water Conservation Program staff will evaluate whether the proposed use qualifies as a bona fide use.