Resources for Water Conservation & Drought

On January 17, 2014, California Governor Brown declared a Drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions. In response, on March 13, 2014, the Alameda County Water District (ACWD) Board of Directors declared a water shortage emergency in Fremont, Newark, and Union City and adopted a Water Shortage Emergency Ordinance that includes mandatory water use restrictions.

On July 15, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board approved an Emergency Regulation for Statewide Urban Water Conservation, mandating that all urban water agencies implement water conservation plans. Starting August 1, 2014, water restriction violations are considered criminal infractions, punishable by fines of up to $500 a day. The State Water Board prepared a Fact Sheet on the adopted regulations for reference.

On April 1, 2015, the governor issued Executive Order B-29-15, ordering the State Water Resources Control Board to impose restrictions to achieve a 25 percent reduction in potable urban water usage through February 28, 2016; directing the California Department of Water Resources to lead a statewide initiative, in partnership with local agencies, to collectively replace 50 million square feet of lawns and ornamental turf with drought tolerant landscapes; and directing the California Energy Commission to implement a statewide appliance rebate program to provide monetary incentives for the replacement of inefficient household devices.

On November 13, 2015, the governor issued Executive Order B-36-15, stating that if drought conditions persist beyond January 2016, the restrictions imposed by Executive Order B-29-15 would be extended through October 31, 2016. On February 2, 2016 the State Water Resources Control Board adopted this extended and revised Emergency Regulation.

On May 9, 2016, the governor issued Executive Order Executive Order B-37-16, establishing longer-term water conservation measures that include permanent monthly water use reporting, new urban water use targets, reducing system leaks and eliminating clearly wasteful practices, strengthening urban drought contingency plans and improving agricultural water management and drought plans.

On June 9, 2016, the ACWD Board of Directors voted to Rescind the Water Shortage Emergency Ordinance and ended the drought surcharges, effective July 1, 2016.

On December 22, 2016, state and federal officials released the final Environmental Impact Report / Environmental Impact Statement for California WaterFix, an effort to modernize the State's water infrastructure in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The California Department of Water Resources officials indicate that WaterFix will secure water supplies for 25 million Californians and prepare for a future marked by rising seas, seismic threats and more extreme weather.

The State of California also issued a Drought Update on January 9, 2017 discussing current water supplies, resources, and the WaterFix plan.

Permanent Statewide Water Use Restrictions

  • Prohibitions on using a hose to clean driveways or sidewalks.
  • A ban on overwatering landscape that results in runoff.
  • Requiring restaurants to serve water only upon request.
  • A mandate that the hospitality industry offer optional laundering of sheets and towels. 

Rebate & Incentive Programs

Alameda County Water District, the Bay Area Water Supply & Conservation Agency, and the State of California's Save Our Water Program assist local residents with water conservation efforts and water efficiency upgrade projects.


​Report Water Waste

You can report water use violations to ACWD by calling (510) 668-4200 or by filling out the online water waste reporting form.

Water Conservation Status

View system-wide usage reductions since 2013 on the graph below, courtesy of the Pacific Institute.

You can also download a presentation from the January 12, 2016 City Council meeting by ACWD General Manager Robert Shaver entitled "Water Supply Reliability: The Drought and Beyond".

System-wide water usage reductions 2013-2016. Courtesy of Pacific Institute

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California Drought

The California Drought website provides drought resources, news archives, and links to additional water resources in the State of California.
Breaking Drought News 
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is responsible for managing and protecting California’s water. The DWR maintains a Breaking Drought News page, including up-to-date, in-depth information on precipitation, snowpack, and reservoir levels.

California Drought.png
The California Drought.png is a project of the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California dedicated to researching and finding solutions to freshwater issues. The website compiles tools, research, and information on the drought to help California understand, plan for, and find sustainable water management solutions.

U.S. Drought Portal

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) created the U.S. Drought Portal as an information hub on current drought conditions and drought forecasting throughout the country.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor, established in 1999, is a weekly map of drought conditions that is produced jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The California State Drought Monitor shows that as of February 28, 2017, the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California is no longer experiencing drought conditions. There are still Severe Drought conditions in 4% of the state, and 25% of California is Abnormally Dry.