Regulations

In California, droughts are part of life, and so is using water wisely. Helix Water District and the other water utilities serving the San Diego region have worked together for decades to plan for water shortages. We encourage conservation and invest in new water resources. These steps help protect us against drought. 

Current Water Conservation Level

Level 2

Continued Conservation

In response to drought conditions, the State Water Resources Control Board directed all water utilities in California to implement their Level 2 water conservation measures.

Helix’s Level 2 water conservation measures are listed below. We are pleased to report that most of our customers already use these measures in their landscapes.

Since the 1990s, Helix customers have reduced their water use by almost half through their commitment to using water efficiently. We appreciate your efforts and encourage everyone to keep up the good work.

In fact, over the last 30 years, Helix and the other water utilities in the San Diego region invested $3 billion in water conservation and new water supplies. We have the water we need, even in dry years like this one, for decades to come.

Level 2 Water Conservation Measures

  • Water landscaping before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
  • Water landscaping up to three days per week – customers may choose which days work best for them.
  • Limit landscape watering to 10 minutes per station per day unless you are using drip/micro irrigation, stream rotors, rotating nozzles or a weather-based irrigation controller.
  • Use a hose and automatic shutoff nozzle when watering by hand.
  • Use recirculated water in fountains.
  • Repair all leaks within five days.

The state also banned watering of decorative (non-functional) lawns at commercial, industrial and institutional properties, including homeowner association common areas. This does not apply to residential lawns, sports fields, school fields or areas regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events.

The state may require mandatory conservation if drought conditions worsen. Check out our Sustainability menu at hwd.com for tips, rebates and more to help you save water.

Declaration – Level 2 Water Shortage

Declaration – Level 1 Water Shortage

2020 Water Shortage Contingency Plan

State Water Resources Control Board Fact Sheet – Emergency Regulation FAQ

Permanent Water Efficiency Measures

Helix has permanent water use efficiency measures that are always in effect. These measures are best practices to make sure we’re all being water-wise, and they are things that most of our customers already do. Thank you for your commitment to using water wisely. Keep up your efforts, and explore our Sustainability menu for more ways to continue helping. (Policies and Procedures, Section 4.9-6)

Irrigation (all customers)

A.  Eliminate runoff from irrigation on to hardscape, streets, structures or adjacent properties. Water waste caused by overspray from sprinklers or low head drainage is prohibited.

B.  Do not water for at least 48 hours after rain.

C.  Do not water turf on public street medians.

Other Outdoor Use (all customers)

A.  Do not wash down paved surfaces, including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts or patios, unless required for public safety or sanitation.

B.  Use recirculated water in ornamental fountains and water features.

C.  Wash vehicles using a hose with a positive shutoff nozzle and a bucket, and avoid washing vehicles during hot conditions when additional water is required.

Commercial Water Use

A.  Restaurants and other food service establishments may serve water upon request only.

B. Hotels, motels and other commercial lodging establishments must offer guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily

Helix Water Shortage Response Levels

Helix’s Board of Directors has adopted a Water Shortage Response Plan. We have six water shortage levels, with increasing restrictions, that we can enact during times of drought or decreasing water supplies – when we need extra conservation efforts. (Policies and Procedures, Section 4.9)

LevelConservation
Target
Water Use
Limits
Normal Zero WastePermanent
1Up to 10%Voluntary
2Up to 20%Mandatory
3Up to 30%Mandatory
4Up to 40%Mandatory
5Up to 50%Mandatory
6Above 50%Mandatory

Level 1

Voluntary water use restrictions to achieve water savings up to 10%.

Irrigation (all customers)

Irrigate before 10am and after 6pm only. Consider limiting irrigation using spray-type sprinklers to 10 minutes per day and adjusting run times as needed to avoid runoff.

If hand-watering, use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or a bucket.

Commercial Water Use

Irrigate nurseries and commercial landscapes before 10am and after 6pm only, but the following is permitted at any time:

  • Use of a hand-held hose with positive shut-off nozzle
  • Use of a bucket
  • Drip/micro-irrigation
  • Irrigation of propagation beds
  • Watering of livestock

Leaks

Repair water leaks within five days of notification from Helix unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.

Level 2

Mandatory water use restrictions to achieve water savings up to 20%. Level 1 voluntary water use restrictions become mandatory.

Irrigation (all customers)

Limit irrigation to no more than 3 days per week.  This limit does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.

Hand-watering is limited to the same daily schedule as irrigation systems.

Limit irrigation to no more than 10 minutes per station per day. Weather-based controllers, drip, micro, stream rotors and rotary nozzle sprinklers are exempt from the 10 minute per day limit.

Other Outdoor Use (all customers)

Stop operating ornamental fountains and decorative water features unless recirculated water is used.

Level 3

Mandatory water use restrictions to achieve water savings up to 30%. Level 1 and 2 restrictions are mandatory.

Irrigation (all customers)

Limit residential and commercial landscape irrigation to two days per week. During the months of November through May, landscape irrigation may be limited to no more than once per week. This limit does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.

Hand-watering is limited to the same schedule as irrigation systems.

Other Outdoor Use (all customers)

Stop filling or refilling ornamental lakes or ponds, except as needed to sustain aquatic life of significant value that was actively managed in the water feature prior to Helix implementing a drought response level.

Only wash vehicles at commercial carwashes that recycle their water, or with a high pressure/low volume wash system.

Development

Helix may deny requests for temporary water meters, permanent meters and ability to serve letters unless:

  • A valid, unexpired building permit has been issued for the project
  • The project is deemed necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare
  • The applicant offsets the water demand of the project prior to the issuance of a new meter

Annexations

Helix may consider suspending annexations to its service area during a Level 3 water shortage response.

Water Allocations

Helix may establish a water allocation per customer that:

  • does not penalize customers for conservation to date
  • does penalize customers for water use in excess of their allocation

Level 4

Mandatory water use restrictions to achieve water savings up to 40%. Level 1, 2 and 3 restrictions are mandatory.

Irrigation (all customers)

Limit residential and commercial landscape irrigation to one day per week. This limit does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries.

Hand-watering is limited to no more than three days per week.

Other Outdoor Use (all customers)

Stop filling or refilling ornamental lakes or ponds, except as needed to sustain aquatic life of significant value that was actively managed in the water feature prior to Helix implementing a water shortage response level.

Level 5

Mandatory water use restrictions to achieve water savings up to 50%. Level 1, 2, 3 and 4 restrictions are mandatory.

Irrigation (all customers)

Stop all landscape irrigation except for the following:

  • Crops
  • Landscape products of nurseries and commercial growers
  • Hand-watering of trees and shrubs as described in Level 4
  • Irrigation specified by the Fire Marshal having jurisdiction over the property
  • Irrigation for erosion control
  • Irrigation of plants that are rare or essential to the well-being of rare animals
  • Active landscapes including public parks, playing fields, day care centers, school grounds, cemeteries, and golf course greens, provided that irrigation complies with schedule in Level 3
  • Watering of livestock
  • Public works projects and actively irrigated environmental mitigation projects

Leaks (all customers)

Repair leaks within 48 hours of notification from Helix unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.

New Connections (all customers)

Helix may restrict new potable water service, temporary meters or permanent meters and statements of immeadiate availability to serve or provide potable water service except when any of  the following apply:

  • A valid, unexpired building permit has been issued for the project
  • The project is necessary to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare
  • The applicabt provides substantial and satisfactory evidence that water demands for the project will be offset prior to the provision of a new water meter

Level 6

Mandatory water use restrictions to achieve water savings of more than 50%. Level 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 restrictions are mandatory.

Irrigation (all customers)

Stop all landscape irrigation except for the following:

  • Crops
  • Landscape products of nurseries and commercial growers
  • Irrigation specified by the Fire Marshal having jurisdiction over the property
  • Irrigation for erosion control
  • Irrigation of plants that are rare or essential to the well-being of rare animals
  • Watering of livestock
  • Public works projects and actively irrigated environmental mitigation projects

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