Mandatory Drought Restrictions

Ordinance 05-14


Due to the long-term drought facing California and in response to the State of Emergency declared by Governor Brown, the Orange City Council adopted Ordinance 05-14 at their October 14, 2014 meeting.

Ordinance 05-14, the City of Orange Water Conservation and Water Supply Shortage Program, is meant to help conserve the available water supply and provide a contingency plan in times of drought or other water emergencies. The new conservation requirements include:
  • Watering or irrigation of landscaping is prohibited between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Watering or irrigation of landscaping is limited to no more than 15 minutes of watering per station on days allowed.
  • Watering landscape areas during and within 48 hours of measurable rainfall is prohibited.
  • Washing down hard or paved surfaces such as driveways, streets, sidewalks, and more is prohibited.
  • Watering or irrigation of landscaping in a manner that causes or allows excessive runoff onto driveways, streets, sidewalks, and more is prohibited.
  • Using water to wash a vehicle is prohibited except by hand-held bucket or hand-held hose equipped with positive self-closing water shut-off nozzle.
  • Obligation to fix leaks within 7 days.
  • For a complete list of the current water restrictions, visit the document management portal website.

Ways to Conserve Water Outside the Home


Water your lawn only when it needs it - A good way to see if your lawn needs watering is to step on the grass. If it springs back up when you move, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, the lawn is ready for watering. Letting the grass grow taller, to three inches (depending on the type of grass), will also promote water retention in the soil.

Water during the early parts of the day and avoid watering on windy days - Early morning is generally better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus (water before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m.). Early watering and late watering also reduces water lost to evaporation. Watering early in the day is also the best defense against slugs and other garden pests. Try not to water when its windy as wind can blow sprinklers off target and speed evaporation.

Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs, flower beds and lawns - Adding organic material to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention. Areas which are already planted can be "top dressed" with compost or organic matter. You can greatly reduce the amount of water used for shrubs, beds, and lawns by:
  • The strategic placement of soaker hoses
  • Installing a rain barrel water catchment system
  • Installing a simple drip irrigation system
  • Avoid over-watering plants and shrubs, as this can actually diminish plant health and cause yellowing of the leaves, and when hand watering, use a variable spray nozzle for targeted watering.
  • Plant drought-resistant lawns, shrubs, and plants
Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants, mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding two to four inches of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the drip line of each plant to form a light depression which will prevent or minimize water runoff. Don't water the gutter, position your sprinklers so water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas. Don't run the hose while washing the car - Clean the car using a pail of soapy water. Use the hose only for rinsing. This simple practice can save as much as 150 gallons. Use a spray nozzle when rinsing for more efficient use of water. Better yet, use a water less car washing system. There are several brands which are now on the market.

Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks. Check for leaks in pipes, hoses, faucets, and couplings - Leaks outside the house may not seem as bad since they are not as visible, but they can be just as wasteful as a leak indoors. Check frequently to keep them drip-free. Use hose washers at spigots and hose connections to eliminate leaks.

Saving Water Saves You Money


Currently, the City of Orange is partnered with Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), offering many different indoor and outdoor rebates and incentives as well as free of charge water saving programs to all of our customers. To learn more about these programs and how to apply, please visit the Orange County (OC) Water Smart website. In addition, the website also provides useful information about other water conservation topics such as OC Storm Water Program, Garden Friendly Program, California Friendly Landscape Resources, Water Saving Tips, H2Os for HOAs and more. If you have further questions about Water Conservation in the City of Orange, please contact the Public Works Water Division at (714) 288-2475.