Drought update

Young-plants-growing-with-drip-irrigation.jpg

Residents urged to conserve water 

With California experiencing its third consecutive dry year, Menlo Park Municipal Water reminds customers that now is the time to prioritize drought planning and water conservation. Follow the drought status at U.S. Drought Monitor.

Report water waste

New statewide water use restrictions

Effective May 24, 2022, the State Water Resources Board adopted drought emergency regulations that prohibits certain wasteful water use practices statewide and encourages Californians to monitor their water use more closely while building habits to use water wisely. 

Menlo Park water restrictions

On Nov. 23, 2021, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (Menlo Park's water supplier) declared a water shortage emergency and asked all customers to reduce water usage.

On May 24, 2022, the City Council declared a Stage 2 drought emergency that requires Menlo Park Municipal Water customers to reduce water use by 20% compared to their water use in fiscal year 2019-20 and prohibits the following water uses:  

  • Applying water to outdoor landscapes that cause more than incidental runoff
  • An automatic shut-off nozzle is required for hoses used to wash vehicles, outdoor hand watering, etc.
  • Washing impervious areas unless it addresses an immediate health and safety need
  • Irrigating turf and ornamental landscapes within 48 hours of measurable rainfall – this does not apply to trees
  • Using/filling/topping off decorative fountains, lakes, or ponds with potable water must recirculate water
  • Irrigating turf on public medians
  • Using potable water for street cleaning or construction site preparation
  • Using potable water to irrigate non-functional turf at commercial, industrial and institutional sites
  • Newly constructed homes and buildings must irrigate with drip or microspray only

Additional measures

  • Hotels and motels shall provide guests the choice to reuse or launder towels and linens daily
  • Restaurants and other food service operations shall serve water only upon request
  • Broken or defective plumbing and irrigation systems must be repaired or replaced within a reasonable period
  • Recreational water features shall be covered when not in use

Additional outdoor water use restrictions

  • Limit irrigation watering to two days a week according to the schedule below.
  • Irrigating outdoor landscapes is prohibited between the hours of 8 a.m.–6 p.m.; however, these irrigation restrictions do not apply to:
    • Hand watering with a bucket or similar container
    • The express purpose of adjusting or repairing an irrigation system

Two days a week irrigation schedule

Street address  Watering days Watering hours
 Odd street address Tuesday and Saturday For all days, irrigating is
prohibited between the
hours of 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Even street address Wednesday and Sunday
No street address Wednesday and Sunday

Water conservation

Menlo Park Municipal Water collaborates with the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency to offer water conservation rebates, incentives and free water-saving fixtures to residents and businesses that are Menlo Park Municipal Water customers.

All water customers are encouraged to do their part by conserving water and using these tips:     

For more information on the drought and water conservation, please visit

Thank you for doing your part to conserve water. Together, we can make every drop count!

Frequently asked questions

Stage 2 drought FAQs

What does Stage 2 drought mean?

Our Water Shortage Contingency Plan outlines six drought stages and regulations/prohibitions we may implement for each stage. It includes adopting any regulations imposed by the State Water Resources Control Board (as was done in the last drought and the current drought) or our water wholesaler, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. It also allows the City Council flexibility to include additional water-saving measures.

Why did Menlo Park Municipal Water adopt Stage 2?

Governor Newsom’s March 28, 2022, Executive Order N-7-22 required the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to adopt additional water conservation emergency regulations and ban “non-functional turf” irrigation for commercial, industrial and institutional water users. On May 24, 2022, the State Water Board adopted a resolution requiring urban water suppliers to implement, at a minimum, the demand reduction actions listed in their Water Shortage Contingency Plan for drought Stage 2 (up to 20% water use reduction from fiscal year 2019-2020 levels) and ban “non-functional turf” irrigation for commercial, industrial and institutional water users. The State Water Board defines “non-functional turf” as turf that is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events. Non-functional turf does not include sports fields. The State Water Board defines “commercial, industrial and institutional” as including homeowners’ associations, common interest developments, community service organizations, and other similar entities but does not include the residences of these entities’ members or separate interests.

What is non-functional turf?

“Non-functional turf” is turf on commercial, industrial and institutional properties (including homeowners’ associations, HOAs) that is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events. Non-functional turf does not include sports fields.

Can commercial, industrial and institutional water users irrigate non-functional turf?

Commercial, industrial, and institutional users cannot irrigate non-functional turf. These users include homeowners’ associations, common interest developments, community service organizations, and other similar entities but does not include the residences of these entities’ members or separate interests.

When can I irrigate my landscaping?

Every water user must follow the two days per week irrigation schedule and hours.

Exceptions include:

  • Hand watering with a bucket or similar container or with a continuously monitored hose fitted with an automatic shut-off nozzle or similar device
  • Watering trees
  • Adjusting or repairing an irrigation system
Street address  Watering days Watering hours
Odd street address Tuesday and Saturday For all days, irrigating is
prohibited between the
hours of 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Even street address Wednesday and Sunday
No street address Wednesday and Sunday

Will you be looking at my individual water use?

We do not plan to investigate water use for individual customers at this time. We are requesting each customer reduce their water use by up to 20% compared to 2019-20 levels, as practicable, which we hope to achieve systemwide.

How can I determine my 2019-20 water use?

We can provide you with this information. Please contact us at 650-330-6750.

What is the drought surcharge and when will it appear on my bill?

The purpose of the drought surcharge is to recover lost revenue (due to less water sales) in order for the water fund to meet target reserves and cover operating, maintenance and capital expenditures. Drought surcharges are only in effect if the City Council declares a drought and specifies the drought stage as outlined in the Water Shortage Contingency Plan. The City Council declared a Stage 2 drought May 24, 2022, and the drought surcharge of $1.40 per CCF will appear on August water bills for July water use.

How is the drought surcharge calculated on my bill?

The surcharge is based on total water use so water bill charges will increase with more use. There is a drought surcharge of $1.40 per CCF (1 CCF = one hundred cubic feet = 748 gallons = 1 unit of water).

What are the drought Stage 2 water regulations that I must follow?

The drought Stage 2 water regulations are available on the drought update webpage. They are in addition to the drought Stage 1 water regulations the City Council adopted March 1, 2022.

I am still implementing water saving practices from the last drought, so why do I have to conserve even more?

We understand that many water users have already implemented water-saving practices from the last drought and are continuing those water-saving practices. If the State Water Board or our water wholesaler, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, imposes mandatory regulations, we are required to implement them, and we may implement other appropriate actions in order to meet our water reduction goal. We try to be as fair as possible when we develop measures.

Are there plans to install smart meters so I can manage my water use more effectively?

We are planning to implement the automated meter infrastructure project this year which will replace/retrofit all water meters by December 2023. This year we also plan to transition to a user-friendly customer portal that will allow water users access to hourly water use on their computers and mobile devices.

How long will these regulations remain in effect?

The regulations will remain in effect until the Governor and State Water Board declare the drought emergency is over, and the City Council adopts a no drought water conservation plan.

Can the drought regulations get more restrictive in the future?

The State Water Board regularly evaluates water supplies throughout California. Based on their findings they may implement stricter regulations in the future.

 

U.S. Drought Monitor update