What are the new water restrictions, and how do they apply to me?Recently, the State passed drought emergency regulations that prohibit certain types of outdoor water use. Here's what City of Newport Beach (City) water customers need to know:
- Lawns and landscaping can only be irrigated a maximum of three days per week from April through October and one day per week from November through March.
- There are specific watering days assigned to your property. You or your gardener will need to reschedule your automated irrigation system to comply with the assigned watering days. You can find your designated watering days by entering your address.
- Reduce current water use by 15 percent compared to the same billing period in 2013.
- Water leaks must be repaired within 48 hours.
- Ornamental lakes, ponds or fountains can only be filled once every other week.
- Swimming pools/spas can only be filled or re-filled six inches per week.
- 48 hours after a rain event no irrigation is permitted
- Also see the permanent restriction noted below.
Didn't Newport Beach already have water conservation measures in place?
Yes, the City Council adopted a "Level One" water shortage in September of 2014. In June of 2015, the City Council is approved a "Level Three" conservation measure and the included new restrictions. On July 12, 2016, the City Council approved reducing the water conservation efforts to a "Level Two" (conservation requirements are noted above). Permanent restrictions have been in place since 2009.
The permanent restrictions include:
- Watering over 15 minutes per station for automated irrigation systems.
- Watering outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes excess runoff. This means no water can run off of landscaping and onto the sidewalk or gutter.
- Washing down of hard surfaces including sidewalks and driveways. The only exception is for health and safety related circumstances. Use a broom instead to clean your hardscape areas.
- Not repairing water leaks or breaks quickly.
- Washing a motor vehicle with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle. This applies to all types of motor vehicles: cars, boats, motorhomes.
- Operating a fountain or decorative water feature, unless the water is part of a recirculating system.
Where can I find my designated water days?
We offer five ways to locate the assigned watering days for your property(s).
- Refer to the postcard that was mailed out to each property owner and/or homeowner association management company specifying your assigned watering days.
- Locate your municipal services billing statement. In the section titled "Important Information" you will see your assigned watering days.
- You may look up your assigned watering days by entering your address into the section "What are my watering days?"
- Find your property location on our watering days map.
- You may call 949-644-3388 for assistance finding your watering days.
What is my water reduction goal?
Newport Beach water customers can view their water reduction goal And check their conservation efforts online. Customers need their municipal services account number and billing zip code to access their personal data
Is there someone I can call to report a water leak or get general information?
Yes. The City has set up a drought response number, 949-644-3388, with trained staff to answer your questions. Many answers to your questions can be found online at newportbeachca.gov/water. This page includes information on your assigned watering days, city permanent water use restrictions and current State law information.
How will the water restrictions be enforced?
The City has provided extensive public education through letters, door hangers, messages on water bills and social media platforms and posted signs throughout the community to alert customers of the need to follow the State mandated water restrictions. City staff has enforcement responsibilities to ensure compliance with Newport Beach Municipal Code 14.16, which includes, but are not limited to, the use of verbal warnings, notices of violations and administrative citations ($100, $200 and $500).
Will I be penalized for not meeting my reduction goal?
The City is not posting a charge on customer’s municipal statements for being over their 25% reduction goal. However, the City is reviewing all water accounts for egregious or repeated high consumption. Customers that do not meet the drought regulations or do not reduce repeated high consumption will receive a verbal warning, notice of violation or administrative citation ($100, $200 and $500) at the discretion of the City. We prefer to see customers willingly comply with the state’s regulations.
How are government agencies doing their part?
Orange County cities, including the City of Newport Beach, are doing many things to reduce water use at public locations including increased recycled water connections to irrigate landscapes, reducing irrigation run times and replacing turf with drought tolerant landscapes. The City has stopped irrigating center median turf with potable water and stepping up our drought outreach programs by assisting with incentives to install water efficient devices. Visit watersmartnewport.org for rebates and other water-saving programs.
When do the restrictions go into effect?
The new water restrictions went into effect in July 2015 and have been extended until October 2016. The State may decide to extend the restrictions again if drought conditions persist. There is the possibility that local watering restrictions may be ongoing or permanent. Newport Beach's permanent restrictions (NBMC 14.16.040) have been in place since 2009.
What resources are available to help reduce my water use?
There are a wide range of programs and incentives to help you reduce your daily water use. The Municipal Water District of Orange County and the City offer rebates on water efficient devices, like smart sprinkler timers and rotating sprinkler nozzles; rebates for replacing turf with California friendly landscape, free home water surveys, water-wise gardening classes; and much more. Visit watersmartnewport.org/rebates for more information.
I need to empty and refill my pool. Can I do so without being fined?
If a new pool is installed or routine pool maintenance requires the filling of a pool, you should complete a "relief from compliance" form using our simple online process. If you need assistance with the form, give us a call at 949-644-3388. Remember, the new regulations require pools or outdoor spas can only be filled up to six inches per week.
Can I store my pool water in a holding tank while I make necessary repairs?
Yes. Saving pool water in a storage tank is permissible. If the storage tank will be on a City street, a temporary street closure permit is required for its placement and storage. The permit is for a maximum of 14 days (extension may be approved) and there is a permit fee. Contact the Public Works Department at 949-644-3311 for assistance with a permit.
Should the location be on a private street, please contact your home owner association for approval, if applicable. A City permit is not required for private streets.
If I stop watering my grass and it turns brown will I get a citation?
No. The City applauds the efforts of those who enthusiastically are conserving water. In particular, we encourage residents to switch from turf grass to California friendly plants which are suited to Southern California's semi-arid climate and require very little water. There are resources available for removing your turf. Explore landscaping resources to see how easy and beautiful this change can be.
Do I have to water the City-owned parkway tree in front of my property?
Yes. Trees are an essential community asset and it is important that all trees remain healthy throughout the drought. It is recommended to water your parkway tree with a hose fitted with a shut-off nozzle, watering can, bucket or install a drip irrigation line to provide enough water to maintain the health of the tree. Only water the tree on your designated watering day.
I don't think my base amount in 2013 is a good comparison, can I use 2014 instead?
No. The State law requires water use to be compared to 2013. The reduction targets are measured by comparing the monthly residential gallons per capita per day (R-GPCD) to the same monthly period in 2013. If you feel that 2013 is not an accurate reflection of your historical usage, you can apply for a "relief from compliance" and explain the reason(s) why.
Why does my water bill for this period seem to be much higher than the previous period?
There are many items that make up your water bill-your actual water usage and fixed fees such as sewer, meter size, recycling fee and the Fire Medics program, if applicable. The majority of these fees have not increased since January 2014. Please look carefully at your water consumption to see if it has increased. If it has, please look around your home to see where you can reduce your usage.
If someone is washing their car or wasting water, should I call the police?
No. Please call the City's Code Enforcement Division at 949-644-3215 to make a report. Or, you can download and use the City's smartphone app MyNB to report any kind of inefficient water use under the dealing with the drought tab. The app is available fro free from Google Play Store or iTunes.
What if I have more questions?
We're here to help you. Residents can call the City's water conservation hotline to speak with a staff member that can address your questions and concerns. Please call 949-644-3388 and follow the prompts to get your questions answered.