Water Use Restrictions

Save Our Water Tips-FB-IG-English-RunoffNEW! City of Burlingame is Implementing Level 2 of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan
California is experiencing dry weather conditions and much of the state is in a drought. On June 6, 2022, the City Council declared that a water shortage condition exists and adopted the following new water use restrictions from Level 1 and Level 2 of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan:
  • Potable water shall not be used to water outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff onto non-irrigated areas, walkways, or other hard surfaces.
  • Potable water shall not be applied in any manner to any driveway or sidewalk, except when necessary to address immediate health or safety concerns.
  • Restaurants and other food service operations shall serve water to customers only upon request.
  • Residential and commercial landscape using overhead sprinkler irrigation with potable water is prohibited between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and no more than two (2) days per week. Drip, bubbler, hand-watering with a shut-off nozzle, other water-efficient irrigation systems, and new landscaping installed in the plant establishment period (typically less than two years) are exempt.
  • Prohibit installation of single-pass cooling systems.
  • Prohibit vehicle washing except with the use of recycled water.
  • Prohibit the use of potable water for the irrigation of "non-functional turf" at large commercial, industrial, and institutional sites. "Non-functional turf" is defined as turf that is solely ornamental and not regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events. Non-functional turf does not include sports fields, residential lawns, parks, and irrigation as necessary to ensure the health of trees and other perennial non-turf plantings, or to the extent necessary to address an immediate health and safety need.

Wasteful Water Use Restrictions Ordinance

The City has a Wasteful Water Use Restrictions ordinance which targets and prohibits wasteful water use actions. The following uses of potable water are prohibited at all times:
  • Use of a hose without a positive shut-off nozzle.
  • Use of water for cleaning, filling, or operating non-recirculating, decorative water fountains.
  • Use of water to irrigate outdoor plants, lawn, grass, landscaping or turf areas during and within 24 hours after measurable rainfall.
  • Use of broken or defective plumbing, sprinkler, watering, or irrigation systems.
  • Use in new, added, or altered car wash equipment unless a recirculating water system is incorporated.
  • To promote conservation, hotels and motels shall provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and display notice of this option in guestrooms.
  Interested in learning how to get rid of your turf lawn and turn it into a native garden? Or maybe you want to learn how to detect leaks on your irrigation system. Watch previous recordings of landscape workshops hosted by Bay Area water suppliers.  

Report Water Waste and Help Conserve Water in Our Community:
  1. Call our Water Conservation Hotline at 650-558-7612,
  2. Email us at WaterConservation@burlingame.org, or
  3. Report it online at AccessBurlingame.


What does a 15% water use reduction look like?
Last year, Burlingame residents on average used 68 gallons of water per person per day. A 15% reduction for the average resident would mean saving 10 gallons per day or about 70 gallons per week. Here are some ways you and your family can achieve a 15% water use reduction:

  • Finding and fixing leaks. Did you know that toilets are the #1 culprit for household leaks? If your toilet is leaking, the cause is often an old, faulty toilet flapper which can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day or 1,400 gallons per week.
  • Watering one day less per week can save 170 gallons per week. Did you know that watering your plants 2 times per week is enough for most gardens?
  • Running dishwashers and washing machines only when full. Full laundry loads can save 15-45 gallons per load, while full dishwasher cycles can save 5-15 gallons per load.
  • Installing a water-efficient showerhead and taking shorter showers. Cutting back on your shower time by 5 minutes every day can save 70 gallons per week.
  • Install a rain barrel to collect rainwater and save up to $200 per barrel here.
  • Convert all (or part) of your lawn to drought-tolerant plants, such as California natives or pollinator-friendly plants.
  • Spread a layer of organic mulch on your plants to retain soil moisture and reduce evaporation.
  • Examine your sprinkler system for leaks.
  • Install a WaterSense certified showerhead.
  • Install a smart irrigation controller. Did you know that the City is partnering with BAWSCA to offer a generous discount on the Rachio 3 weather controller?
  • Read more conservation tips here.