Sacramento County Water Agency

Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  
Answer
My water consumption is more than 500 gallons perday, is my water meter wrong?

Many customers are looking more closely at their daily water consumption and are surprised by their water use. Beginning in September 2015 SCWA has made an online portal available for residents to check their read history: watersmart.scwa.net . Alternatively customers can contact  875-RAIN for assistance and ask for an email copy of their historic consumption.

My lawn is turning brown.  Can I sue the County for this?

​The Sacramento County Water Agency is following state of California mandated regulations regarding water conservation.

Is hand watering allowed?  If so, when is this allowed and what regulation does it follow?
Hand watering is only allowed with a drip attachment on the hose on the same days as drip irrigation.
Why are other cities still on two watering day and Sacramento County Agency Water is only at one day?

​SCWA can only evaluate its own production numbers and service areas to determine its required watering restrictions to meet the State’s Emergency Conservation Regulations.  SCWA’s review of its water production numbers and GPCD (gallons per capita per day) against the states conservation mandate requires a reduction in watering days for lawns to one day per week; however we are allowing a three day per week drip irrigation schedule.

I have a water fountain if I buy my own water to fill it will I be fined if I keep my receipts for the water that I purchased?

​Yes. There are no restrictions one-time filling of a pool. If you are not using potable water from the Water Agency then you will not be fined.  Proof of receipts with dates and volumes should be sufficient for proof.

Are there currently any rebates available for swapping out my irrigation controller for my sprinkler system to one that is more drought friendly?

​SCWA is currently working on expanding its rebate programs and will be taking an item to the board on July 14, 2015.  Please check www.SCWA.net after that date.

I have an issue with my swimming pool water and the pool needs to be drained and refilled.  If we do this, will we be fined for over using water?  If so, how much will the fine be?

​Draining and refilling a pool for maintenance services is allowed.

I just purchased a slip and slide for my child’s birthday party.

​Am I allowed to use water for this purpose? No. Individual “recreational water activities” are prohibited. We are still allowing “recreational water activities” to continue at public venues such as parks.

Do the watering restrictions apply to vegetable gardens?  Would the general restrictions apply to this case as well?

​All potable uses of water are subject to restrictions.  Vegetable gardens on drip systems are allowed to be watered 3 days a week.

Who at SCWA can I give recycled water suggestions to?

​There is a “contact us” link on www.SCWA.net with information on how to reach us by phone or email.

I recently received a door hanger at my home/business, what does this mean?

​A door hanger means that water waste has been identified on your property by Water Agency staff. The notification contains information on the type of waste noted and information on how to reduce or eliminate water waste. Reducing the water waste on your property may help you save money (for meter billed customers) and will help reduce the depletion of our water supply. 

How can I avoid receiving another door hanger?

​The first notification should contain detailed information on the water waste identified on your property. Most often we post a door hanger for overwatering. Signs of overwatering include water runoff, algae on the sidewalk or flooding. We recommend shortening watering times for each cycle to reduce runoff from your property and checking your irrigation system for leaks or broken pipes or sprinklers.

Are there exemptions from watering restrictions for newly installed turf?

​No. There are no exemptions for newly installed turf.

My neighbor waters 7 days a week. Is that allowed?

​No, this is not allowed. SCWA customers are on a one day a week watering schedule for lawns (sprinklers) and three days a week for trees and shrubs (drip).

What service does Water Wise Consulting provide?

​Water Wise Consulting, Inc. is a consultant that we hired to provide Water Wise House and Business Calls to assist us in identifying simple ways for our customers to save water and money on water bills. They come to your home/business and check indoor plumbing fixtures, your irrigation system, provide training on programming your irrigation timer, and inspect for water leaks and offer water saving tips specific to your property.  This service is FREE to all Sacramento County Water Agency customers. Call 866-685-2322 to schedule an appointment.

My friend doesn’t pay the same rate for water, why?

​A difference in water rates could be due to many factors. The two main factors could be metered versus flat rate or you may be in a different service area. There are over 25 individual water providers in Sacramento County. If you have any billing questions, please contact the County’s Consolidated Utilities Billing System at 875-5555.

The house next door is vacant and their sprinklers are stuck on. Can you help?

​Please call us at 875-1955 to report any water waste and we will go out to conduct an investigation.

Who can I call to report water waste?

​To report water wasters, please call the Sacramento County Water Agency at 875-1955 or fill out our online form. If calling after 5 p.m., leave a detailed message including the description of the problem and the address, time, and date of the water waste. Your name and phone number is optional, but preferred in case clarification is needed. You will remain anonymous when reporting water waste.

Can you tell me how much my bill is?

​To find out how much your utility bill is, please contact the County’s Utility Billing System (CUBS) by calling 875-5555 or sending an e-mail to utilities@saccounty.net.

Can you tell me about the toilet and washing machine rebates?

​The Water Agency currently has two rebate programs available.

  • The High Efficiency Toilet (HET) rebate is worth up to $175 for residential customers and $200 for commercial customers.  HET’s use 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less.
  • Customers can receive a rebate worth up to $100 for a water efficient clothes washer with a water factor of 6.0 or less.
  • Customers can receive a rebate of $100 for purchasing a high effeciency clothes washer with a water factor of 4.5 or less.

Visit our rebate programs webpage for more information.

What are some easy ways to save water?

​50-80% of all residential water is used outdoors for irrigation purposes.  Reducing your outdoor water use has the potential to save you the most on your water bill. Leaks are another huge water waste in homes. A simple test to check if your toilet has a leaky flapper is to put food coloring in your tank. If it seeps into your bowl, you know your flapper is leaking and you may need to replace it. Visit our water conservation page to find other ways to save water.

I received a notice for overwatering but it is really for my neighbor’s house. What should I do?

​If you feel you received a notice in error, please call us at 875-1955.

My neighbor has water coming into my backyard. Can you help me with that?

​Yes, we can do an inspection of the backyard. Once we determine where the water is coming from, a notice will be sent to the property owner.

Some customers say there is no way to water without having runoff. Is that true?

​No, there is definitely a way to water without having runoff. Soil varies from area to area so there is no perfect watering time that will suit all types. The best way to eliminate runoff is to shorten watering cycles but run more cycles. We recommend shortening each cycle to 5-7 minutes, with at least an hour between each cycle giving the water enough time to absorb into the lawn.  If you have steep slopes, you may want to consider replacing your sprinkler nozzles with low output nozzles such as rotary nozzles. You can replace only the nozzle and don’t need to replace the whole sprinkler head.

How do I safely get rid of algae on my sidewalk?

​Algae on sidewalks are caused from water running off your property and the sidewalk remaining wet. We recommend letting the algae dry up and try removing it with a scrub brush.  You may also use a biodegradable product that has citric acid like lemon juice or vinegar, but only use the product if there is staining on the concrete. Be careful when using any products, because an excessive amount can enter storm drains and negatively impact our local creeks and rivers. To prevent algae from forming, you can adjust your sprinklers to face only the landscape and reduce watering times.

My neighbors are watering all the time, why don’t they get a notice?

​If you see your neighbor overwatering, please contact us and our water patrol will go out and investigate. Please include the days/times of the water waste along with a brief description and address.

How do I know if I have a leak and what do I do about it?

​Finding leaks can be difficult. First, we recommend turning off the water to your home. For those with water meters, check your meter (typically found in front of your property) and see if there is any movement. If the water is shut off, there should not be any movement in your water meter. If so, you may have a leak or malfunction. An easy way to check if your toilet is leaking is to place a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If you see the color in the bowl, you may have a change your flapper. Please bring the old flapper to the store with you and replace with the same flapper. A different flapper may cause the toilet to not function well or change the flush volume.

How are private wells monitored during the drought/does SCWA have any jurisdiction/who can I contact?

​ Water purveyors enforce the State’s mandates for their customers. However, since residents on private wells do not receive water from a water purveyor, purveyors have no jurisdiction or enforcement powers over private well users. 

The State Water Resources Control Board enacted the water restrictions, and distributed a media released on May 5 regarding water conservation mandates

    Commercial, Industrial and Institutional properties that are not served by a water supplier (or are self-supplied, such as by a groundwater well) also must either reduce water use by 25 percent or restrict outdoor irrigation to no more than two days per week. No reporting is required but these properties must maintain documentation of their water use and practices.

For more information, contact: State Water Resources Control Board Enforcement Office

What are my water days and times?

​The State Water Board has specifically identified a 32% Conservation Requirement for the Sacramento County Water Agency. In order for SCWA and its customers to achieve this conservation requirement, SCWA will implement Stage 3 of its adopted SCWA Water Shortage Contingency Plan.
 
Effective May 5, 2015, SCWA customers will be limited to 1 day a week to irrigate turf. With a goal of helping our customers preserve trees and perennial shrubs, watering by drip system will be permitted 3 days a week. For more information, visit our water conservation page.

 

Address Ending In                              Watering Days ​/ Week         Permitted Irrigation Time of Day
                                              Turf/Lawns   Drip (Trees and shrubs)
​Even Numbers (0,2,4,6,8)           Sun               Sun, Wed, Fri                  Before 6 am and After 8 pm
​Odd Numbers (1,3,5,7,9)            Sat                Sat, Tues, Thurs             Before 6 am and After 8 pm
 
 
With the current drought conditions, why aren’t all fireworks being banned?
​It is not within the prevue of SCWA to make decisions regarding fireworks. However Metro Fire does have current information on fireworks and fireworks safety. Please see www.metrofire.ca.gov