Sacramento County Water Agency - Drought Update

Last Updated: 10/27/2021 8:54 AM

Current Stage

The Sacramento County Water Agency (SCWA) is currently at Water Conservation "Stage 1".

Voluntary Reduction

SCWA is asking its customers to strive to meet the Governor's voluntary call of 15% reduction of water usage compared to 2020 levels. 

Latest Updates

October 20, 2021

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order declaring a drought emergency across California, urging residents to reduce their water use after the state saw its second-driest year on record.  The Governor's Office says California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s. August 2021 was the driest and hottest August on record since the state began reporting data.

July 8, 2021

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order calling on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent compared to 2020 levels through simple actions such as reducing landscape irrigation, running dishwashers and washing machines only when full, finding and fixing leaks, installing water-efficient showerheads and taking shorter showers. These voluntary efforts complement specific local conservation mandates already in place in some communities experiencing acute water shortage conditions this summer.

May 10, 2021

Governor Newsom expands Drought Emergency to Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed Counties.

April 21, 2021

Governor Newsom signs proclamation in response to drought conditions.

Protecting Our Water Supply

During the 2013 to 2016 drought Sacramento County Water Agency (SCWA) customers responded to the calls to conserve in a big way; reducing overall water use by as much at 34%. You  achieved  this by  following  the  watering  schedule,  installing  drought tolerant  landscaping,  using  water efficient  irrigation  systems,  purchasing low-flow toilets, fixing leaky faucets and making many other small changes in water use both inside and outside of your home. But you didn't stop there.

Even after the drought was officially over, you continued those good habits. As a result, from 2017  through 2020, SCWA customers demonstrated an average 17% reduction in water use each year,  showing that you have made Water Efficiency and Conservation a way of life.

Now we are asking you to keep up this good work. As we have all seen, this past winter was extremely dry and the outlook is that California is entering another  drought  period.  So this year it will be  even  more  important  to continue those water saving habits you developed.

Keep making Water Efficiency and  Conservation a way of life so we can sustain our water supply well into the future.  Every drop counts!


In May 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two new bills into law that created regulations requiring urban water providers to establish water use objectives for their service areas. Water use objectives will be based on the sum of these four factors: indoor residential use, outdoor residential use, commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) use, and water losses or leakage within the treated water delivery infrastructure of a water provider.

Here’s a breakdown of these factors for SCWA customers.

  • Indoor Residential Standard - will initially be allocated 55 gallons per capita (person) per day (gpcd). This standard will decrease to 52.5 gpcd in 2025, and then to 50 gpcd in 2030.
  • Outdoor Residential Standard - will be adopted by the State in 2022 and will take into consideration the amount of irrigable land and climate conditions within each agency’s service area(s).
  • CII Standard - will be developed and adopted by the State by 2022.
  • Water Loss - rules requiring water providers to meet volume-based performance standards will be adopted by the State in 2019 or 2020.

State enforcement of these water use objectives begins in 2023.

The SCWA is responsible for complying with these regulations your water purveyor, and asks that our customers continue to use water efficiently in accordance with SCWA’s Water Agency Code




Checking for leaks

Water leaks are indicated by water passing through your meter when all water fixtures and water-using appliances have been turned off.

By viewing your meter’s register you can often tell if you have a leak. Dial registers usually have a low flow indicator that spins when even small flows are present through your meter, as shown below.

If either of the above types of low flow indicators rotates with everything shut off, you likely have a leak somewhere.  If your register is digital, leaks are indicated by the digits on the far right side of the readout continuing to count with everything shut off.  If you have a leak, it should be investigated further. Common sources of leaks include plumbing fixtures such as toilets and faucets.

You may wish to hire a professional or schedule a Water Wise House Call to help locate any “mystery leaks.” Water leaks beyond the water meter are the responsibility of the owner to make
repairs as soon as possible.

Save water, save money. By finding and fixing leaks, you can save thousands of gallons of water a year. If you’re paying a metered rate, it will help you save money too.

Stay In the Loop!

Current Watering Schedule

Ending In


(Trees, Shrubs)

​Permitted Irrigation Time of Day

(0, 2, 4, 6, 8)

​Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

​Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

​ ​All irrigation times are from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

(1, 3, 5, 7, 9)

​Tuesday, Saturday, Thursday

​Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Recycled water users are exempt from this watering schedule

This website provides techniques for you can improve indoor and outdoor water use efficiency, and offers information on how to apply for rebate opportunities.

Please keep in mind that with more than twenty-five different water purveyors serving Sacramento County, you may receive mixed messages about the impact of drought conditions.  SCWA will provide our customers the latest information on this website.

How to locate your water meter

In doing your part to save water, you may wonder how much you actually use.  You can find out by checking your water meter.  Water meters are usually located in your front yard, near the curb or sidewalk. You’ll find it inside a rectangular box in te ground near your property line. 

It’s your responsibility to maintain full access by keeping your water meter box clear of landscaping and other obstructions.  This will help with reading, maintenance, and repair work conducted by the Water Agency’s crews. 

​How to read your water meter

Water meters are precision instruments built to accurately measure both large and small amounts of water for many years. Although yours may look a little different, the picture below depicts a dial register which is typical for most residential water meters.

SCWA’s new dial registers are read in cubic feet (CF) but are billed in increments of 100 CF units. Some of our older dial registers, however, are read and in 100 CF units.  Always read your meter from left to right for CF.

1. To calculate gallons used, multiply the number of CF by 7.48. This will tell you how many gallons you’ve consumed: 1 CF = 7.48 gallons = 62.4 Pounds of water. Older meters made to read in 100 CF units must be multiplied by 748 to calculate the gallons used.

2. Record the number and check your meter again in 30 days. Subtract the first reading from the second to determine your water consumption for the past month.

3. The picture below depicts our newest digital registers for 1-inch to 1.5 inch meters. These digital registers read in CF but billed in 100 CF.