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Business – Water Conservation

Conservation Tips for:


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You Can Make A Difference!

Fresh water is perhaps the most important resource on the planet. It is a key building block of all life as we know it. For instance, did you know the human body is up to 60% water? Each day we must replace an average of 2.4 liters of water through food and drink. Did you also know you’re living in a drought? In June 2008, California’s Governor proclaimed a statewide drought for the first time since 1991. In these times, it just makes sense to conserve water.

In Orange, commercial buildings accounts for 35% or our water consumption. Major water consumers are likely to be the outdoor landscaping, toilets and water fixtures. Green your business today and consider implementing these water saving measures. Got rebates? Check out ours!

Want to know more about water consumption habits in Orange?

Water Conservation Tips


  • Don’t flush…your money away – Replace your old toilets with newer, water efficient models (High efficiency toilets save up to 38 gallons per toilet per day). At a minimum, insure that your maintenance department ensures your toilets and plumbing don't leak. Fix leaky faucets and save (20 gallons per day).
  • Save big!!! – Institute a policy to empower employees to mange their water use and report running toilets and other plumbing leaks. For instance, employees can save when they brush their teeth by turning off running water (saves 3 gallons per day). If your company has shower facilities, shower timers could help conserve water use (showers which are one to two minute shorter saves 5+ gallons per day). It is also important to swap inefficient shower heads. Flow switches may further assist your staff in reducing waste while showering.
  • Bring on the bubbly! – Install faucet aerators, a great, inexpensive water efficiency measure. Also, consult your equipment providers for other turn-key solutions to help you save money and water.
  • Save the laundry for later! – If your business performs laundry services, wash only full loads of laundry (saves 15-50 gallons per load).
  • Clean and green! – Use phosphate-free soap and detergent to help improve water quality. Train staff to pre-treat materials to avoid double washing. It also helps if you plan on employing a gray water recycling system in your business. See the Green Your Business page for links to certified green products.
  • Upgrade! – Replace your old, wasteful water appliances, such as clothes and dish washers with newer Energy Star models (High efficiency clothes washers saves up to 24 gallons per day). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "an Energy Star-labeled clothes washer saves 7,000 gallons of water per year over their 11-year life cycle – or enough to provide a lifetime of drinking water for six people."

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  • Make a good first impression – Keep your curb appeal vibrant, water your landscaping between midnight and 8 a.m. to reduce evaporation and interference from wind (saves 25 gallons per day).
  • Train your grass – No, not "Sit" or Roll-over"…drought resistant!!! Watering everyday may be training your lawn to grow shallow roots and require excess water. Consult your local nursery for tips. If you are installing a new lawn or reseeding an existing lawn, look into drought resistant grass or artificial turf options. New synthetic turf has come a long way. It looks great, lasts longer, and you can save up to 12.5 gallons per 100 feet per day.
FYI..._ As As of January 1, 2010, the City of Orange instituted the Water Efficient Landscapes: Guidelines to promote the use of water conserving landscaping and irrigation in new and rehabilitated landscapes through conservation in design, installation and maintenance. This State mandated requirement applies to all new private, non-residential (commercial/industrial) projects and residential developers and property managers of single-family and multi-family projects or complexes with a landscape area equal to or greater than 2,500 square feet. The new standards also apply to rehabilitation projects greater than 2,500 square feet, representing at least 50% of the total landscape area, and planned to occur within one year. Contact the Planning Department for more information.
  • Save time and money! – Install a smart sprinkler or automatic irrigation controller to manage the job (saves 40 gallons per day for the average small business). Install rotating nozzles to manage the watering (saves 3.6 gallons per nozzle per day for the average small business). Use drip irrigation for the areas not covered by the sprinkler system.

  • Routine inspection – Old sprinkler systems can contribute to more than 50% of your water usage, it may be time to update. Check your sprinkler system for leaks, overspray and broken sprinkler heads (saves 500 gallons per month for average small business/household landscaping).
Don’t forget:_ Reset your sprinkler timers each winter and summer to ensure proper watering.
  • Synthetic is NOT pathetic! – New synthetic turf has come a long way. It looks great, lasts longer, and can save 12.5 gallons per100 feet per day. Synthetic turf can also increase the heat around your property, so you may want to investigate new innovative applications of radiant heating, which allows owners to capture the solar heat from their green space and apply it to their hot water needs. Who knew you could have a great lawn and hot water at the same time?
  • Brooms, not hoses! – Use brooms (or if necessary electric blowers) for cleaning outdoor dust and debris from your building, driveways and sidewalks (saves a minimum of 150 gallons per time).
  • Wash cars…not the gutter! – When washing company cars, use spray nozzles. Don’t let the hose run. If this is a large part of your business, consider investing in a water-wise, automatic system or use existing commercial car wash facilities.
  • Give your landscaping a facelift!Xeriscape your property with native, climate appropriate grasses, plants and trees, which require minimal water and fertilizer. As an added bonus, they also require less money and time to maintain. Insure your landscaper uses mulch around plants to reduce evaporation (saves hundreds of gallons per year) Plus...mulch keeps weeds from growing!
  • Don’t take a dive on your next water bill! – If you're business operates a pool or spa, use covers to reduce evaporation (for an 18 x 36 ft pool saves 900-3,000 gallons per month). It is also important to maintain chemical balances to avoid unnecessary draining and cleaning.
  • Maintenance is key! – Clearly define operating procedures for maintenance staff, such as plugging the overflow line when the pool/spa is in use or when adding water. Manually cleaning your pool or spa water filter is also more efficient than backwashing, resulting in a better job and requires less frequency of cleaning (save approximately 250-1000 gallons a shot)!

  • Leaks, Leaks, Leaks! – A leaky pool can be a disaster, damaging equipment and increasing chemical expense from lack of water circulation. Not to mention, it’s estimated that a 15-foot by 30-foot pool leaking 1 inch per day wastes approximately 102,000 gallons per year.
  • Catch and release! – It may be useful to install a roof run-off catch system to supplement your landscape watering needs. Contact your local water authority or a sustainability consultant for more comprehensive approaches to water reduction.

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Rebate Information

To assist you in making your business more water efficient, the City of Orange in cooperation with Metropolitan Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) is now offering the following rebates and services for commercial, industrial, and institutional uses. Rebates are limited to a first-come first-serve basis and subject to change. Please visit the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for a list of deadlines and approved devices.

Examples of commercial properties include: retail stores, business complexes, manufacturing facilities, hotels and motels, restaurants, healthcare and dental facilities and coin laundries. Additionally, all common areas in condominium complexes or apartment building are considered commercial property.


  • Install High-Efficiency Toilets and save! Rebates are $100 per toilet.
  • Install High-Efficiency, Ultra Low and Zero Water Urinals and save! Rebates are $200 - $400!


  • Install Weather Based Irrigation Controller (Smart Timer) – Rebates are $50 per station/valve/zone for the device station capacity, not to exceed the price of the device. For instance: If a clock has 24 stations, the maximum rebate you will receive is $50 x 24 stations, regardless of the number of active stations. Your rebate will be based upon capacity.
  • Install Rotating Spray Nozzle retrofits for pop-up spray heads – Rebates are $3 per nozzle, with installation of a pressure-regulating head.

Did You Know?_ Licensed contractors are eligible to receive the rebate directly for installing water conserving measures on their commercial customer’s properties.

Industrial Process Improvement Rebates

These rebates are available for industrial, commercial, and public uses. Documented water savings are required to receive the incentive which is based on actual water saved or total project cost, whichever is less. Typical process improvements that qualify include:

  • Installation of equipment to capture, treat and reuse water that would otherwise be discharged to the sewer.
  • Replacement of existing equipment with more efficient process improvements resulting in reduced water demand.

Based on project cost and water savings, rebates are available as follows:

  • $3.00 per 1,000 gallons of actual water saved for a one year monitoring period; or
  • 100 percent of eligible project costs including equipment, installation and first-year water management services fees, if applicable.

Visit the Metropolitan Water District for more information.

Are you a housing developer building new homes in Orange?

You may be eligible for up to $2,500 per single-family model home (a bit less for production homes) for using California friendly landscaping and installing water efficient fixtures and irrigation systems. Research the Metropolitan Water District Rebates today!

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Special Offers

The City of Orange offers FREE outdoor water audits! Contact the Orange Water Division at (714) 288-2475 or email Tom Taulbee at ttaulbee@cityoforange.org to schedule an appointment. Get on the spot results in 30 minutes!

Attend a FREE California Friendly Landscaping Class! Classes are available for LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONALS AND MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL! The professionals course consists of four 4-hour consecutive classes in landscape water management. Examples of classes offered include Irrigation System Repair, Troubleshooting, Controller Programming, and Irrigation Scheduling. A California Friendly Plants class for professionals is also offered! The Plants class for landscape professionals covers plant identification, characteristics, and water use requirement guidelines for over 40 common landscape plant species.

The City offers tiered water rates! Use less, spend less! Basic water rates for the City of Orange are based on two charges: a fixed connection fee and a tiered rate structure usage fee. The tiered rate structure usage fee encourages City of Orange residents to conserve water by offering lower water rates to households that use less. Please visit the City’s Water Rates page for more rate information.

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