Water Conservation Education

California’s Drought

In a proclamation dated April 25, 2014, Governor Brown calls on all Californians to take specific actions to avoid wasting water, including limiting lawn watering and car washing; recommends that schools, parks and golf courses limit the use of potable water for irrigation; and asks that hotels and restaurants give customers options to conserve water by only serving water upon request and other measures. The order also prevents homeowner associations from fining residents that limit their lawn watering and take other conservation measures.

"The driest months are still to come in California and extreme drought conditions will get worse," said Governor Brown. "This order cuts red tape to help get water to farmers more quickly, ensure communities have safe drinking water, protect vulnerable species and prepare for an extreme fire season. I call on every city, every community, every Californian to conserve water in every way possible."

In January, the Governor declared a drought state of emergency. Since then, state water officials say that reservoirs, rainfall totals and the snowpack remain critically low. Current electronic readings show the snowpack’s statewide water content at just 16 percent of average. In the January 17th State of Emergency declaration, Governor Brown directed state agencies to reduce water consumption by 20%.

What does a 20% reduction in water use look like? Find out here.

Preguntas Frecuentes Acerca de la Sequía

State Water Resources Control Board Action

The State Water Resources Control Board adopted emergency statewide urban water conservation regulations which became effective on July 28, 2014.  The emergency regulations call on all water users to sharply cut back on outdoor water use in response to severe drought conditions in California.  Every resident of the state is responsible for complying with these regulations which remain in place until April 25, 2015.

The State Water Board directs water utilities to educate and inform customers about the following four prohibited activities that limit outdoor irrigation and wasteful water practices:

  • Using water to wash down sidewalks and driveways
  • Landscape irrigation that causes runoff to streets and gutters
  • Using a hose to wash a car or other outdoor use without a shutoff valve
  • Using potable water in a decorative fountain unless it recirculates the water

Fontana Water Company is actively promoting compliance with these regulations through customer education and as directed by the California Public Utilities Commission. We continue to educate customers through methods of outreach such as direct mail, web site alerts, messages on customer bills and school-based education programs that reinforce the need for customers and their families to take prompt action to reduce outdoor water use to conserve precious drinking water.

Fontana Water Company, in conjunction with Inland Empire Utilities Agency, has an active and comprehensive conservation program that offers a full range of helpful programs for customers to cut back their water use, including:

Contact Customer Service for these free services:

  • Water conservation audits
  • Conservation kits at no charge to customers
  • Helpful conservation tips and fact sheets

California Public Utilities Commission

In February, 2014, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered investor-owned water companies to comply with Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s call for a 20 percent water use reduction statewide, as well as any future conservation directives from the Governor, as the state works together to support drought mitigation and relief efforts.

In January 2014, Governor Brown established a Drought Task Force that is traveling throughout the state to meet with local officials in the hardest hit areas. State officials are working closely with federal agencies to provide assistance to affected communities and to forecast needs. Further, Governor Brown, along with the leaders of the State Senate and Assembly, announced comprehensive legislation to immediately help communities address drought impacts.
Large investor-owned water companies are asked to request voluntary conservation from customers in order to reduce consumption. If voluntary measures do not yield the necessary reduction in consumption or in circumstances of prolonged or severe drought, companies may apply to the CPUC to activate mandatory rationing after appropriate public notice and comment.

The CPUC is responsible for ensuring that California’s investor-owned water utilities like Fontana Water Company deliver clean, safe, and reliable water to their customers at reasonable rates. There are 116 investor-owned water utilities and 14 investor-owned wastewater utilities under the CPUC’s jurisdiction providing water service to about 16 percent of California’s residents. Approximately, 95 percent of that total is served by 10 large water utilities each serving more than 10,000 connections.

California’s Source of Supply

Description: drought_01While California’s extensive system of water supply infrastructure— reservoirs, managed groundwater basins, and inter-regional conveyance facilities— lessens the effect of short-term (single year) dry periods, the current drought conditions have lasted for over 3 years.
Lake Powell has been below average in 10 of the past 13 years, resulting in reduced storage levels in Lake Mead. The Colorado River has historically been a highly reliable water supply for Southern California despite long-term drought, thanks to its large reservoir storage capacity. Interim guidelines adopted in 2007 for Lower Basin shortages and coordinated operations of Lakes Mead and Powell help reduce the risk of shortages to California.

Fontana Water Company’s Source of Supply

The current sources of water provided to Fontana Water Company's customers, as of July 2014, is approximately 86% groundwater, 1% local surfacewater, and 13% water from the State Water Project. Groundwater is produced from the Chino Basin, Rialto Basin, Lytle Basin, and an unnamed basin.  Water to replenish the Chino Basin is purchased from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) by Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) in cooperation with the Chino Basin Watermaster. Local surfacewater from Lytle Creek and imported surfacewater from the State Water Project is treated at Fontana Water Company's Sandhill Surface Water Treatment Plant. Lytle Creek is located in the Lytle Creek Watershed which originates in the vicinity of Mount San Antonio in the San Bernardino National Forest, and includes the Upper Santa Ana River Basin located in San Bernardino County.

In 2007, Fontana Water Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the California Utility Water Conservation Council and implemented robust and meaningful water conservation measures through industry "best-practices".

In partnership with our customers, Fontana Water Company’s total water use has declined since 2008 and is on target to meet the statewide goal (enacted by SBX7-7) of reducing per capita water use by 20% by 2020. Fontana Water Company plans to coordinate with the California Public Utilities Commission and work closely with city, county and state agencies to promote additional conservation measures, including enforcement, as necessary in compliance with our Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

Outdoor Conservation Tips:

Description: garden
Lawn and Garden
  • Don’t water the sidewalks, driveway, street, or the side of your house. Use a broom instead to clean driveways, patios and sidewalks…saves 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that’s more than 600 gallons a month
  • Adjust sprinklers so the water settles on your lawn or garden and does not cause runoff to streets and gutters – saves 500 gallons a month.
  • Don’t run the hose while washing your car…use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end…saves 150 gallons each time. That’s a significant amount of water if you wash your cars frequently.
  • Only turn on a decorative fountain that uses recirculated water
  • Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass…if it springs back when you lift your foot, it doesn’t need water. So set your sprinklers for less frequent watering…saves 750 to 1500 gallons a month. Better yet, in times of drought, water with a hose.
  • Water during the cool parts of the day. Early morning is better than evenings since it will help prevent fungus and mildew growth…saves 300 gallons a month.
  • Don’t water on windy days when evaporation is high…this can waste up to 300 gallons in one watering.
  • Cut down watering schedules during the cool, rainy season…adjust or deactivate your automatic irrigation timer…saves up to 300 gallons each time.
  • Set your lawn mower blades (or ask your gardener) one notch higher…longer grass means less evaporation…saves 500 to 1500 gallons a month.
  • If your children play in the sprinklers during hot weather, make sure it’s at the time your lawn needed watering anyway.
  • Replace high-water using trees, shrubs, and plants (especially lawns) with less thirsty ones. But remember, even drought-resistant plantings take extra water to get them established in the garden. Save up to 750 to 1500 gallons per month
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Shredded leaves/bark, peat moss or gravel slows down evaporation…saves 750 to 1500 gallons a month.
  • If you have a pool, use a cover to cut down on evaporation…it will also keep the pool cleaner…saves 1000 gallons a month.
  • If your home has an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain line to a garden area or the base of a tree or shrub.

Washing Your Car:

  • Take your car to a car wash if you can…generally, most car washes filter and recycle a high percentage of the wash/rinse water which is very resource efficient.

Indoor Conservation Tips:

Bathroom Conservation Tips:

  • Install water saving shower heads …saves 500 to 800 gallons a month.
  • Take shorter showers…even a one or two-minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons a month.
  • Capture tap or shower water. While you wait for hot water, catch the flow in a container to use later on house plants or in the garden…saves 400 to 600 gallons a month.
  • Replace your old water guzzling toilet (3.5 to 7 gallons per flush, gpf) with a new ultra-low flush toilet (1.28 gpf)…saves over 700 gallons a month.
  • Put a water displacement bag or plastic bottle in each toilet tank.
  • Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth, and lathering in the shower.
  • Don’t use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket…saves up to 400 gallons a month.
  • Take baths instead of showers. A partially filled tub uses less water than all but the briefest shower…saves 15 to 20 gallons each time.
  • Turn off the water while shaving…saves 3 gallons a day per shaver.

Kitchen Conservation Tips:

  • If you wash dishes by hand – and during a drought that’s the best way – don’t leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. Otherwise, use a spray device or short blasts from the faucet…saves 20 to 500 gallons a month.
  • Don’t defrost frozen food with running water. Place frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost in the microwave…saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  • Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan…saves 150 to 250 gallons a month.
  • Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage can more…saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.

Other Indoor Conservation Tips:

  • Fix all leaky toilets, faucets and pipes.
  • Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints…saves about 20 gallons a day for each leak stopped
  • Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher…saves 300 to 800 gallons a month.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats the wasteful habit of running tap water to cool it for drinking…saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.
  • Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come through the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can and use later on houseplants or your garden. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.
  • If you have a fish tank, use the dirty water from the tank on your house plants. It’s rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, which gives you a good fertilizer.

Water Used for Common Activities

  • Brushing Teeth: 3 gallons per day
  • Shower: 40 gallons/10 minutes
  • Bath: 20 gallons
  • Toilet: 28 gallons/day/person
  • Clothes washer: 45 gallons/load
  • Cooking: 5 gallons/day
  • Dishwasher: 15 gallons/load
  • Landscape: 350 gallons/day
  • Hosing Driveway: 150 gallons
  • Car Washing: 150 gallons