How Much Water Do We Use?

Report water waste violation 24/7 using the Escondido Report It! App or by calling 760-839-4668.

Water Use Restrictions in Escondido

In April 2017, the governor of California formally declared the end statewide drought. Going forward, it's important that Escondido residents continue to use water efficiently by following everyday water restrictions (Escondido Municipal Code, Article 5, including Section 31-230 and Section 31-232):

 A recorded water conservation information hotline is also available to you by calling 760-839-4658 with updated information on rebates and water restrictions. 

Current Water Restrictions

  • Leaks and line breaks must be repaired as soon as they are discovered.
  • Eliminate excessive runoff from over watering.
  • Irrigate landscapes between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.
  • Fountains must re-circulate the water.
  • Washing any vehicle with a hose not having a water shut-off nozzle is prohibited.
  • Washing hardscape with a hose or other pressurized source is prohibited.
  • Watering or irrigating outdoor landscaping with potable water during rainfall or within 48 hours if rainfall is prohibited.
  • Hotels or motels must provide guests with the option not to have towels and/or linens laundered daily.
  • Restaurants or other places where food is served will not serve drinking water to customers unless requested by the customer.

Conservation Reduces Our Demand for Water

While Earth’s water supply looks infinite on a global scale, water is a scarce commodity: only 1 percent of earth’s water is available as fresh water for drinking and agriculture.

Located in a dry and semi-arid climate where only 7 to 9 inches of rain fall each year, Escondido imports approximately 80 percent of its water from northern California and the Colorado River. Water from the local San Luis Rey River accounts for approximately 20 percent.  Water transportation, treatment and storage is an energy intensive process. The energy needed to transport water long distances accounts for more than 20% of energy consumption statewide (California Energy Commission, 2005).  

It is imperative that we learn to use water efficiently both indoors and outdoors, and be aware of resources made available for you to help achieve long term conservation goals:

The bathroom accounts for 65% of the total water use inside the home, so let's start there.

Toilets

  • Toilets installed prior to 1992 use up to 7 gallons per flush. Today's high efficiency toilets use only 1.28 gallons or less per flush.
  • Don't use your toilet for an ashtray.
  • Check for leaks. A leaking toilet can waste up to 7,000 gallons in a 24-hr. period. An unseated or damaged flapper valve or ball cock valve that does not shut off causes leaks. To test for a leak, place a couple drops of food coloring in the tank. Do not flush the toilet. After about 15 minutes check the bowl. If you see any food coloring in the bowl, then you know you have a leak.

Showers/Baths

  • A 10-minute shower using a low-flow showerhead uses approximately 24 gallons compared to a non-low-flow showerhead which can use up to 40 gallons.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • A full bath uses between 40–60 gallons of water. Filling the tub only halfway reduces this amount significantly.

Now let's move to the next part of the house that uses a lot of water. 

The Laundry Room

  • Washing machines typically use about 45 gallons of water per load. You can reduce this amount by setting the dial on your machine to the appropriate load level, if your machine has this option. If your machine does not have this option, then wash only full loads.
  • Purchase a high efficiency washing machine.

What About the Kitchen Area?

  • Wash full loads in your dishwasher.
  • If you do not have a dishwasher, rinse your dishes in a sink of water instead of under running water.
  • Wash your vegetables in a bowl of water instead of under a faucet of running water.
  • Repair all leaks. Replace washers on leaky faucets. Leaks can waste up to 190 gallons per month.

Small leaks can add up to big losses. See how much at Water Conservation Tips & Resources.

  • Become a water manager by learning how to read your meter.
  • Implement best practices for a watershed approach to landscaping.
  • Water only between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m., and avoid watering when it is windy.
  • Modify your irrigation schedule to reflect the changes in seasons.
  1. Landscape Watering Calculator Creates a watering schedule for the different areas of your landscape. To generate a more efficient water schedule, you will need to input the application rate of your irrigation. The application rate is how much water in inches/hour your system applies onto your landscape. The City of Escondido can assist you in determining your application rate. Call the Water Conservation hotline at 760-839-4658 to schedule a free home water survey.

  2. The Watering Index explains how to adjust your irrigation schedule without having to re-program your controller.
  • Use a soil probe to test the moisture depth.
  • If you notice water running off your landscape before the end of your irrigation run time, try cycling your run times or shortening the times you irrigate. Cycling means you irrigate for half of the runtime, wait for about an hour for the water to soak into the ground, and then water the rest of your runtime.
  • Check your irrigation system on a monthly basis. Turn on each station and check for broken and misaligned sprinkler heads.
  • Harness the value of the rain! Install a rain barrel to capture runoff from your roof and use it for watering landscaped areas including lawns and trees.
  • Use a positive shut-off nozzle on your hose.
  • Use a bucket of water when washing your car.
  • Use a broom to clean off your driveway and sidewalks.
  • Use a cover for your pool or spa.
  • Consider whether a “laundry-to-landscape” graywater system is appropriate in your home.
  • Use low-water or drought-resistant plants (the Nifty 50). Hydrozone your yard by grouping plants with similar water needs together.
  • Attend a free residential landscape workshop.
  • Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Obtain free mulch by calling the Public Works Yard (760) 839-4668.
  • Repair all leaks.
  • Schedule a FREE home water survey to identify ways of using water efficiently in and outside your home.

Additional Resources

Outdoor water use:
WaterSmart San Diego Water Calculator
Photos: Local California friendly landscapes (pdf)
California native plant society, San Diego Chapter
Water Conservation Garden, Cuyamaca, El Cajon
Help your trees survive the drought

Indoor water use:
San Diego County Water Authority – WaterSmartSD (indoor and outdoor)
Metropolitan Water District – Be Water Wise (indoor and outdoor)
Water sense: Efficiently made easy (US EPA)