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Questions About Water Conservation

What are the current rules?

Carlsbad is served by three water districts. As of June 13, 2017, the Carlsbad Municipal Water District is in a level one "drought alert," meaning certain year round water use rules are in effect. To see which water district serves you, refer to this map.  

Why do some parts of Carlsbad have different rules?

Water districts are separate government agencies, often with different geographic boundaries. Rules differ according to the needs of each district. The majority of Carlsbad is in the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. All districts work together to coordinate wherever possible to make it easy for the public to know the rules.

The drought is over, so why should I still conserve?

Carlsbad did a great job conserving during the recent drought emergency, but in our desert climate, conservation should be a part of our daily lives. The next drought is always just around the corner.

Why is new development allowed when water is in scarce supply?

A building moratorium would only be considered under extreme circumstances, given the ripple effect it could have on our economy. Water planners forecast growth based on state and regional projections, including the amount of housing the city is required to provide. This information is included in long term water resource planning. These plans consider projected water savings from strict new conservation measures required of all new development, the continued expansion of water recycling, and ongoing conservation efforts among all residents and businesses in Carlsbad. Under the Carlsbad Municipal Water District’s rules, if a “Level 3, Drought Critical” is declared, no new water meters would be approved, which would limit new building in the city.

What is the city doing to conserve water?

Carlsbad is one of the largest users of recycled water in the region and is about to double that capacity. Using recycled water for irrigation and other non drinking purposes frees up our limited drinking water supply. The city is also removing decorative grass at city facilities and in street medians and replacing with drought tolerant landscaping. The city already has seven artificial turf fields and uses drought tolerant landscaping at city facilities. The city has reduced irrigation at parks that don’t use recycled water, and the city is making sure older buildings have been retrofitted with low water use fixtures. Each month, water district staff call the largest water users to offer assistance in reducing consumption. The city has also launched a water conservation campaign to ensure the public is aware of the rules and resources to help them conserve more.

Since the desalination plant has started operations, do we still need to worry about conservation?

Yes. The desalination plant will provide between 7 to 10 percent of the region’s water supply, but conservation still needs to be a way of life in our desert climate.

Can the desalination plant be expanded?

There are no plans to expand the plant now. It could be expanded in the future if needed.

I heard that the San Diego region has enough water for now. Why are we being required to conserve?

We live in a desert climate, so water conservation will always be a way of life.

Should businesses be worried about not having enough water?

Many businesses are located in areas with access to recycled water, which can be used for landscape irrigation and certain industrial processes. Carlsbad is currently doubling the capacity of its recycled water plant, which will provide added water reliability for businesses in the future.

Did water rates go up because of the drought?

Water rates are set according to the actual cost to provide water service. The water district conducts a “cost of service” study to determine this. Other factors influencing water rates are infrastructure needs and the cost to buy imported water, which is the biggest expense in your water bill.

How does the water district enforce the rules?

The water district has the power to impose fines, but awareness and education are the first steps.

What are the fines for not complying with water use rules?

The district has the authority to impose fines up to $500 a day.

How can residents report water waste?

To report water waste in the CMWD service area, call 760-438-2722 or email water@carlsbadca.gov. Report any observed over-watering, sprinkler overspray or other violations with as much detail as possible, including street address and time of day.