San Luis Reservoir, pictured April 30, is less than 50% full. The Merced County water body holds water from the Central Valley Project, which in normal years supplies nearby communities with nearby water. Photo: Juan Reyes

California’s severe drought continues, and mandatory water conservation measures are in place. These climate conditions, along with our limited long-term water supplies, mean it is in our best interest to use water as efficiently as possible. Not just when we’re in drought, but ALWAYS!

On May 24, the State Water Resources Control Board issued new emergency regulations that prohibit irrigation on non-functional turf with drinking water (potable water) in commercial, industrial and institutional sectors since voluntary conservation efforts have fallen short. The emergency regulation also requires urban water suppliers—which includes the Cities of Hollister and San Juan Bautista and the Sunnyslope County Water District—to implement water reduction measures. As such, restaurants and other food service providers in Hollister and San Juan Bautista will only serve water upon request, and hotel/motels will provide guests the option of choosing to not have towels and linens laundered daily.

In May, the Hollister City Council, San Juan Bautista City Council and the Sunnyslope County Water District’s Board all passed emergency water conservation measures for compliance with state rules, which includes restricting landscape irrigation.

For residential customers in the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope County Water District service areas, restricting irrigation of landscapes and lawns is restricted to two days a week, specifically: Tuesdays and Saturdays for odd numbered and numberless addresses, and Wednesdays and Sundays for even numbered addresses. The City of San Juan Bautista limits residents to irrigating their landscapes on Monday and Thursday only.

Courtesy of San Benito County Water Resources Association

More on Water Use Restrictions

Water waste is prohibited. The following specific water uses are prohibited: irrigating lawns and landscapes more than two days per week, flooding or runoff, use of a hose without a hose nozzle or shut-off device, non-recirculating fountain or other decorative water feature, outdoor irrigation or watering landscapes or turf between 9am-5pm (exception for drip irrigation, and hand watering), broken or defective plumbing and irrigation systems must be repaired or replaced within a reasonable period. Washing driveways, sidewalks, buildings, structures, patios, parking lots or other hard surfaced areas except for immediate health or safety needs, and irrigation during and within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.

Tips for Conserving Water at Home

Conserving water at home is a great way to get involved in maintaining our water supply. There are many ways to conserve water at home. Residents should consider taking the following steps to reduce water waste:

– Regularly check for leaks (free leak check from the Water Resources Association)

– Replace old toilets (free toilets for those who have pre-1992 toilets from the Water Resources Association)

– Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators (free from the Water Resources Association)

– Install automatic shut-off hose nozzles (free from the Water Resources Association)

– Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving 

– Add compost to your landscaped areas to conserve water outdoors (free from Integrated Waste SBC) – next free giveaway days: Oct. 8 at Veteran’s Park, Hollister and on Oct. 15, San Juan School, San Juan Bautista

Thinking of Converting Your Landscape to be Water-Wise?

The Water Resources Association is offering a Turf Removal Program to City of Hollister, City of San Juan Bautista and Sunnyslope County Water District customers. 

Get paid to remove turf from your landscape. Get $2 per square foot up to 1,000 square feet ($2,000). Special rules apply and funding is limited.

Turf uses up to 50 inches of water per year. Whereas we receive 12-15 inches of rain on average. Use climate appropriate plants!

Free water-wise landscape plans with three different themes are available on the Water Resources Association website. 

Drought tolerant and native plant lists are also available on the website with other water-wise landscape information.

Go to or call 831.637.4378 for more information or to schedule a free leak check, irrigation assistance or pre-inspection for the Turf Removal Program. 

Courtesy of San Benito County Water Resources Association

Shawn O. Novack is Water Conservation Program Manager for the Water Resources Association San Benito County and San Benito County Water District. 

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