Water Regulations for San Jose Residents - Am I Violating Any Laws?

April 28, 2015

New Water Regulations for San Jose Residents

by Josh Levine on April 28, 2015 in Garden Plans, Garden Startup, Gardening Tips

Water Regulations for San Jose

Residents – Am I Violating any


Now that there are more strict rules in place, many San Jose

residents are worried that they are violating landscape watering

laws that have not been enforced in the past. From the most

recent article released by the Mercury News, we see that you

really only have to worry about these three main topics: Lawns,

Cars and Pools.

How Do These Laws Affect


My Vegetable Garden

Now, if you are already a StartOrganic client, you know that we

have been preaching lawn removal for a long time and most

likely you have removed at least some part of your lawn to grow

veggies and a few natives. These new laws that are in effect

until March, 2016 do not affect those of us with vegetable

gardens with drip irrigation or apply water by hand. Because

we teach you to set your drip irrigation to cooler hours of the

day (between 8PM and 10AM), you should not have to change

your watering schedule at all.

My Lawn

If you still do have a lawn, you may have to cut back on

watering. Some exceptions to the rule are as follows. If you

have drip irrigation or water by hand, you are not currently

violating any laws. It seems they will be looking for sprinkler

systems that are going off more than twice per week or if the

sprinklers are watering during the heat of the day (10AM-8PM).

Properties whose addresses end in odd numbers are allowed to

water only on Mondays and Thursdays. Properties whose

addresses end in even numbers may water only on Tuesdays

and Fridays.

Any NEW lawn installation is illegal between the months of May

and October if it has a standard sprinkler system. We

recommend NOT installing lawn if you can help it and instead

growing some edible crops that you can get something out

of or natives that don’t use much water at all. Always use low

flow drip emitters and limit any of your standard sprinkler

systems if you can help it.

My Car

Washing your car with potable water at home is now prohibited

in San Jose, period. You can take it to a commercial car wash if

they use recirculating water, but that is really the only exception

at this point.

My Pool

If you have a pool, you are not supposed to “top off” more than

1 foot of water at a time unless you needed to drain it to fix a

leak. While it is still legal to purchase hot tubs, regulations state

that you are not supposed to fill them.


We all know that water is a resource that we need to preserve in

the coming years, so if you are using it, have a good purpose.

Lawns are great if you are playing with your kids or pets, but

most of us have more lawn than we would ever need. If that’s

the case, then bypass all of these laws and take it out! ..and as

I’ve always said, “when in drought, take that carpet out!”

For more information on these new laws,

visit www.sjenvironment.org.