Business & Resident Water Conservation Resources

Watsonville depends on local groundwater wells for about 90% of our water. We are pumping more water from our wells than can be refilled by rainfall each year. Drought or no drought, conservation is our new way of life!


California continues to experience one of the most extensive and intense droughts on record, which is why on June 10, 2022 the state of California published emergency water regulations that will remain in effect for one year. As part of this new regulation, Watsonville City Council adopted a resolution declaring a Stage Level 2 Water Supply Shortage, setting up an objective to achieve a 20% water reduction. 


Businesses, schools, and all residents must follow the measures below to conserve water: 

Watering or irrigating landscapes: 

  • All irrigation of non-functional turf is prohibited (i.e turf that is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events).

  • Irrigation of landscaping on street medians, narrow strips in and alongside public streets is prohibited.

  • Landscape irrigation prohibited between 9am-5pm (except by bucket or hand-held hose with shut-off nozzle). 

    • Allowed only two days per week, and no more than 15 minutes per day. 

    • Switch to drip irrigation that emits water directly to plant roots - or water by hand.

    • Mulch around the base of your plants to prevent water runoff into the streets.

  • Always use a hose with a shut-off nozzle. Hoses without shut-off nozzles are prohibited.

  • Broken or defective water systems are required to be repaired within five days. 

Hotels and restaurants:

  • Water-conserving dishwashing spray valves are required in all commercial kitchens. 

  • Hotels must offer guests the option to reuse sheets and towels. 

Other requirements:

  • Washing paved or hard surfaces is prohibited, except for health and safety reasons. 

  • Using potable water to fill decorative water features is prohibited, except to sustain aquatic life. 

  • Constructing or installing and operating new commercial car washes and commercial laundry systems that do not use water-recirculating technologies is prohibited. 

Remember that using water in a way that it runs off onto the street is considered water wastage and is prohibited. Compliance with local and State laws that prohibit the wasting of water is mandatory and non-compliance could result in a fine of up to five hundred dollars ($500) for each day in which the violation occurs. 

Reducing your water use when watering lawns and landscaping will make a big difference, since outdoor watering accounts for 50% of our daily water usage. Please consider letting your lawn go brown this summer — or even better, replacing it with a drought-resistant landscape through our Landscape Rebate Program.  

 The City of Watsonville generously supports water conservation by providing free resources and incentives for both businesses and residents alike who want to help us meet our water conservation goals while saving money at the same time.

These resources include: 

Residents can help by reporting water waste. Please send an email about water waste to waterwaste@cityofwatsonville.org. In order for us to respond to your report, please include the following information:

  • Address of the water waste you observed

  • Time of day you observed the water being wasted

  • Brief description and a clear photo of how water was being wasted

Your personal information will remain private.


 Remember that using water in a way that it runs off onto the street is considered water wastage and is prohibited. 

The City of Watsonville generously supports water conservation by providing free resources and incentives for both businesses and residents alike who want to help us meet our water conservation goals while saving money at the same time. 

  • Free Water Consultation (PDF): trained staff will visit your home or business to evaluate your landscape and indoor water use. They will make specific recommendations tailored to your needs while providing incentives and rebates for modifications.
  • Landscape Water Conservation Rebate: The City of Watsonville offers a $1.00 per square foot rebate for customers to replace high-water-use lawns with drought-tolerant, permeable landscaping including edible perennials. Interested customers are eligible for a replacement rebate of up to $1000 for residents and $2,000 for multi-family, commercial or institutional customers. Coupled with the State of California rebate, customers may receive up to $2 per square foot for lawn replacement.
  • The Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency offers a rain barrel rebate. Rebate form. (831) 722-9292

  • Free Toilet Replacement: for most toilets installed prior to 1992 or marked greater than 1.6 gallons per flush, the City of Watsonville will replace your old model free of charge.
  • Washing Machine Replacement Rebate (PDF): $100 rebate should you purchase a new Energy Star Certified Washing Machine to replace less efficient washing machine models. 
  • Plumbing Retrofit Water Conservation Certification Program: Visit our Plumbing Retrofit Water Conservation Certification Program page to learn about the requirements when selling/buying a home 

Water Documents