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City of Carlsbad Steps up Water Conservation Efforts

Carlsbad CA— To help meet ambitious water conservation goals, the City of Carlsbad is tearing out turf, installing new water efficient fixtures at city buildings and expanding its water recycling program, according to a report delivered at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

“We’ve already done a lot to save water, but there is always more than can be done,” said Mario Remillard, water conservation coordinator for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. “We are asking the community to save even more water, and we want to set the example.”

On June 1, to coincide with new statewide mandatory water cutbacks, the City of Carlsbad launched a water conservation campaign to raise awareness of new water use rules and encourage greater conservation.

As part of the campaign, the City of Carlsbad is making yard signs available for residents and business owners who want to highlight their efforts. Pick one up at:

The water district is also promoting awareness of tools and resources, including rebates, free home water use checkups, water wise landscaping seminars and discounts on low water use plants. District staff are calling the largest water users each month to identify ways they can save and utilizing additional staff to respond to water use complaints.

On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a statewide 25 percent reduction of drinkable urban water use through February 2016. Each city has its own conservation targets set by the state. The Carlsbad Municipal Water District must reduce consumption by 28 percent.

Remillard said that the City of Carlsbad has implemented several programs over the years to conserve water and reduce consumption. Carlsbad currently has the third largest production of recycled water in the region and is planning to double the recycling plant’s capacity next year.

And the city is expecting its first delivery of drinkable water from a new drought-proof supply — the Pacific Ocean — later this year. The desalination project will provide between 7 to 10 percent of the region’s water supply.

The City of Carlsbad uses recycled water on all of its parks where it is available, which is about half of the large community parks. Where recycled water is not available, the city is ripping out select turf that is for decorative purposes only, and reducing watering for recreational fields and other park areas, according to City of Carlsbad Park Superintendent Kyle Lancaster.

The city uses dozens of “smart controllers” and water efficient irrigation systems and is continuing to upgrade its other irrigation controllers/systems. The city also has seven artificial turf athletic fields and one artificial turf event area at its parks, said Lancaster.

Drought tolerant plants are used routinely in new landscaping, and natural mulch is being used routinely in landscaped planters to retain moisture in the soil. Hundreds of broadcast spray irrigation heads have been replaced with more water efficient stream rotor spray irrigation heads.

About three-fourths of city facilities have low flow toilets. The city has plans to replace 44 more with low flow models and 106 with dual flush valves. Waterless urinals have been installed in restrooms where increased maintenance is not an issue. The city plans to replace 35 additional urinals with waterless models.

Current water use restrictions include:


  • Use sprinklers no more than two days a week and only on assigned days. No watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Addresses ending in an odd number may water on Tuesdays and Fridays. Addresses ending in an even number, plus all apartments, condos and businesses, may water on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • Set sprinklers to run no more than eight minutes per station (Tip: split this time to four minutes in the morning and four in the evening to avoid run off)
  • Stop water waste from inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff, overspray and misdirected sprinklers.
  • Use a bucket or a hose with a shutoff nozzle when watering landscaped areas with no irrigation system.
  • Turn off irrigation during and 48 hours after rain.
  • Irrigate nursery and commercial grower’s products between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. only.
  • Watering is permitted any time with a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle, a bucket, or when a drip/micro-irrigation system/equipped is used. Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time. Watering of livestock is permitted at any time.


  • Don’t wash down hard surfaces, such as driveways, patios, sidewalks and parking lots with a hose, unless necessary for safety or sanitation.
  • If washing a vehicle at home, use a bucket and hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle.


  • Stop operating decorative fountains unless they use recirculated water.


  • Repair all water leaks within 72 hours of notification from the water district.

Restaurants and Hotels

  • Serve water in restaurants only on request.
  • Offer hotel guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.

The rules don’t apply to users of recycled water, which is highly treated wastewater used for landscaping and other non drinking purposes. Low water use irrigation systems are also exempt from these rules.

The district has the power to impose fines, but awareness and education are the first steps, said Remillard. Members of the public who spot possible water waste can call the district at 760-438-2722 or email Please include as much detail as possible, including addresses and photos, if possible.

The Carlsbad Municipal Water District, a subsidiary of the City of Carlsbad, serves about 85 percent of the city. South and southeastern portions of the city are served by the Vallecitos Water District and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.

For more information
Visit the Carlsbad Municipal Water District’s Web page at, or call 760-438-2722 or visit the San Diego County Water Authority’s conservation website,