Drought Response and Water Conservation

A good dousing over the winter months has helped, but continued water conservation is important. Working together, local water purveyors, Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD), Elk Grove Unified School District, and the City made significant strides last summer to conserve water citywide.

The City of Elk Grove is not a water purveyor. The Elk Grove Water District and Sacramento County Water Agency  are the primary service providers in the Elk Grove area, but there are others.  Each water agency is responsible for determining the level of rationing or restrictions for their service area. Stay informed about changes to state water restrictions and updates affecting your water service by checking with your water purveyor.

Water Agencies Serving Elk Grove

Elk Grove Water District
(916) 685-3556
www.egwds.org

Sacramento County Water Agency
(916) 874-6851
www.scwa.net

No watering permitted between 6 am and 8 pm. Watering permitted only on the days shown in the chart below. Even addresses Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, odd addresses Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Sac County Graphic

 

Water restrictions are currently in place within Elk Grove. Restrictions can vary based on your water service provider.

Recycled Water

In May 2003 the Sacramento County Water Agency (SCWA), in partnership with the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San), developed a recycled water system that treats and delivers up to five million-gallons-per-day of recycled water to the Elk Grove neighborhoods of Laguna West, Lakeside, Stonelake, East Franklin and Franklin Crossing. Specifically, recycled water is used to irrigate street medians, commercial landscaping, parks and school sites. The rules and restrictions guiding the use of recycled water are different than those posed for potable water. More about Recycled Water.

Reporting  Water Waste

What can the City enforce?

Per the Elk Grove Municipal Code, the City can only enforce the reporting of excess water (running off) into the storm drain.  City Code Enforcement can open a case for the run off portion only.  If you have a complaint that meets these parameters, contact Code Enforcement at (916) 687-3023 or by using the City's Ask Elk Grove smartphone app or phone number (916) 691-CITY (2489).

Who do I report watering day/time violations?

You will need to contact the water purveyor to report a violation for usages on an unauthorized day or time.  The City is not authorized to enforce other agencies regulations.

turf replacement
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Turf Replacement

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Can I replace my lawn with artificial turf?

Replacing grass or natural turf with artificial turf is allowed in Elk Grove. Artificial turf must be pervious surface (allows for water to drain through it into the ground). Many styles of quality artificial turf exist that look great and drains like real grass. It's always important to check CC&Rs if you live in an area governed by an HOA, as specific neighborhoods might have different regulations not enforced by the City of Elk Grove.

Does the City have regulations regarding restricting the replacement of grass to drought friendly landscaping?

It depends on the area of the City.  Certain neighborhoods require turf through CC&R’s regulated by their neighborhood associations while others do not have specific regulations.

Where can I find the regulations regarding turf replacement?

Most rules for landscaping can be found in Chapter 23.54 of the Municipal Code. Additional rules apply in some locations. Consult your Homeowners Association (HOA) and/or  Neighborhood Association and your home’s CC&R's to determine if any special restrictions exist in your neighborhood.

Does lawn replacement require approval from the Planning Department?

No permits are required unless irrigation is proposed.

Do you have a list of reliable and competent vendors for this kind of project?

As a matter of policy, the City does not provide recommendations for vendors.

I’m on a corner lot. Can I replace the turf outside of my side yard fence?

Turf within landscape easements can be removed, but must be replaced with vegetation and cannot be left as bare dirt. While the City of Elk Grove does not require particular plants for this replacement, it is required that at full maturity, the plants cover at least fifty percent (50%) of the converted area, and that the plants not be high water use or invasive species. A homeowner can use any low and/or medium water use plants to meet this requirement; however, the City highly encourages the use of drought tolerant and native species. An applicant should also consider keeping any existing trees because they provide shade to one’s home and landscape.

My property has a meandering/detached sidewalk and there is a strip of turf between that and the street. Can I replace it?

Turf within landscape easements cannot be removed and left as bare dirt. If you want to remove the turf, it must be replaced with plants which, when fully mature, cover at least fifty percent (50%) of the converted area. If you do replace this turf, it’s important to install stepping stones or walkways to allow pedestrian traffic to/from the street to avoid damaging the vegetation.

Why can’t I leave these landscape areas as bare dirt?

The City wants to ensure that neighborhoods maintain attractive landscape areas within residential neighborhoods. Trees, shrubs, and groundcovers provide shade, absorb carbon dioxide, supply oxygen, reduce soil erosion, decrease energy use, reduce storm water runoff, reduce fugitive dust, and ultimately save water.

Can I let my lawn die?

While in most cases the City of Elk Grove will not be enforcing Code cases regarding dead lawns, if you do not intend to replace the turf with alternative landscaping, it is recommended that you provide water to your lawn at least once a week to keep it from dying. No matter what, dry vegetation must be maintained to reduce fire danger.

Does the City have any recommendations for replacing my lawn?

There are hundreds of plants that use very little, if any, water. With proper design and plant selection, a homeowner can accomplish almost any look or feel and still save water. EcoLandscape is a website that contains the most recent list of water efficient plants and trees for the region. The EcoLandscape list has been vetted through local nurseries, growers, and landscape professionals. http://www.ecolandscape.org/resourcesWaterSmartplants.html

newState Rebate Programs for Water Conservation 

The California Department of Water Resources has introduced two new rebate programs for water conservation. The first program will rebate up to $2 per square foot for lawn replacements to water efficient landscaping. Residents can get up to $2,000 per household. The second program is a toilet rebate of up to $100 per household for the replacement of any old toilet using more than 1.6 gallons per flush with a high efficiency toilet using 1.28 gallons per flush or less.  Both programs are funded through Proposition 1. More information is available at SaveOurWaterRebates.com or water.ca.gov.

PACE Financing Programs 

While the City does not offer a “cash for grass” program, Elk Grove property owners do have access to several energy financing programs to save water and make their homes more efficient.   Whether you are looking to add water saving technologies, replace an air conditioner, install Solar Photovoltaics, or a complete energy makeover, there are several programs worth looking at. Thousands of California homeowners have used PACE programs to upgrade their homes, paying nothing up front, and making payments over 5 to 20 years through their property taxes. In some cases the savings on energy bills can be greater than the payment.  Commercial properties can also participate.  Find Out More

finance programs 

rain garden
Get Water Wise Landscaping Ideas at the Rain Garden Plaza

The City of Elk Grove's Rain Garden Plaza, located on Laguna Springs Drive across from Colton Park, is the first comprehensive large-scale rain garden in the Sacramento region and the State of California designed to educate and build community awareness to conserve water resources, improve water quality, attract wildlife habitat, and promote watershed stewardship through both passive learning and hands-on fun interactive educational components.

Rain Garden Plaza features a rain garden, biofiltration swales, pervious paving systems, water harvesting features, and California native, drought resistant plants. The Rain Garden Plaza features low-impact development (LID) practices that work with nature to manage stormwater as close to its source as possible by incorporating “river-friendly” landscaping techniques. The Rain Garden Plaza acts like a living laboratory teaching people of all ages about sustainable stormwater practices.  Plant markers have been recently added to all of the plantings in the Rain Garden Plaza to assist homeowners to identify and purchase native plants that work well in the area. Learn more about the Rain Garden Plaza. 

Making Water Conservation a Daily Part of Your Routine

  • Fix leaky faucets, toilets and sprinklers
  • Turn off the water when you’re not using it while shaving or brushing your teeth
  • Wash your car at a carwash which typically use recalculating water systems instead of at home
  • Use a blower or broom instead of a hose to move debris from your driveway, sidewalk or street 
  • Take a shower instead of a bath
  • Ensure your dishwasher and washing machine are full before each wash
  • Eliminate extra flushes
  • Reduce or eliminate lawn watering
  • Report water waste
  • Replace appliances with those that use less water (Rebates for new water efficient appliances may be available through PG&E, SMUD or your water agency. Visit www.bewatersmart.info for rebates and incentives)
  • Request a free landscape irrigation audit or water efficiency review through your water agency
    Elk Grove Water District Irrigation Audit Request Form
    Sacramento County Water Wise House Calls

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Doing Our Part to Conserve

The City of Elk Grove is taking steps to conserve water citywide and at City facilities.  Water conservation measures include:

  • The City is using reclaimed water for irrigation when available
  • Facility building landscape watering reduced by 25%
  • Water conservation at City facilities, including new appliances, faucets and plumbing that require significantly less water

Public Landscape Irrigation

  • Public landscape in the City of Elk Grove is owned by either the City or the Cosumnes Community Services District (CCSD). Public landscape irrigation management is coordinated between both agencies. Both the City of Elk Grove and the Cosumnes Community Services District are working together along with local water agencies to implement new water conservation restrictions mandated by the State of California.

    Actions by the City and CCSD include:

    • Watering landscape turf a maximum of 2 days per week where permitted.
    • Watering landscape plants a maximum of 2 days per week where permitted.
    • Shutting off irrigation to turf in street medians unless it uses recycled water. Efforts under way to keep median trees irrigated that are growing within median turf.
    • Shutting down ornamental fountains.
    • Enhancing centralized irrigation controls to take advantage of integrated weather monitoring that will shut down irrigation during periods of wind and/or rain and to more precisely monitor the amount of water being used (water reductions).
    • Closing spraygrounds which do not have a recirculating water system. Closed locations are: Backer Park, Kunsting Park, Stephenson Park, and Wright Park. 
    • Spraygrounds at Derr-Okamoto Park and Morse Park will operate May 1 to Sep 30, 2015, from 10 am to 8 pm. because these spraygrounds use a recirculating water system. Sprayground availability may change due to future drought related requirements.
    • For more information, go to www.yourcsd.com/waterless.

Additional Resources: 

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