Water Conservation


We've got some good news to share – as of March 24, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom has lifted the drought state of emergency and has rescinded the emergency level 2 drought restrictions for the majority of the state, including Sonoma County. We are now at Emergency Level 1, which means some positive changes are coming your way.

You can now wash your cars. That's right, car washing is completely allowed! We know it's been on your mind, and we're here to set your mind at ease. Just be sure to use an automatic shutoff nozzle. For more information about our water supply, visit www.sonomawater.org/current-water-supply-levels.

Even when accounting for those dry years, Rohnert Park's water supply is more than up to the task of meeting the needs of our current residents and accommodating the growth we're experiencing with new housing. So, rest easy, and feel free to give your car a well-deserved scrub. Please continue reading for more information to keep you informed. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the status of the drought?

The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) provides water for 600,000 people in Sonoma and Marin counties. Sonoma Water relies on the Russian River and two reservoirs. As of March 24, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom has lifted the drought state of emergency and has rescinded the emergency level 2 drought restrictions for the majority of the state including Sonoma County. There are currently no drought restrictions. For more information about the impacts of low rainfall on the Russian River this year visit www.sonomawater.org/current-water-supply-levels.

Drought Relief in the Russian River Watershed:
While some parts of the state continue to experience severe drought conditions, we are pleased to announce that in the Russian River watershed, conditions have significantly improved. Thanks to recent developments and Executive Order N-5-23, curtailment orders implementing drought emergency regulations in the Russian River watershed have been rescinded. This signifies that water right holders in this region will no longer be obligated to adhere to curtailment requirements under the emergency regulation, and additional regulations specific to certain areas have also been rescinded.

We appreciate your ongoing commitment to responsible water use, and we encourage residents to stay informed about the specific water regulations applicable to their region.

We have some exciting news to share regarding our city's water conservation efforts! We would like to announce that the Level 2 water restrictions, which included mandatory compliance with various measures, have been lifted.

Let’s recap the Level 2 restrictions that have now been lifted.

Level 2 Water Shortage Restrictions (No Longer in Effect):
- Restaurants were required to serve water on request.
- Hotels were obligated to allow guests to opt out of daily linen service.
- Filling new pools was prohibited.
- New water hauler accounts were restricted.
- Rate surcharges were under consideration.
- A water waste ordinance was in effect.
- Ornamental water features without circulating pumps were prohibited.
- Landscaping hours were restricted to between 8 pm and 6 am.

Now, let's explore the current Level 1 Water Shortage Contingency Plan:

Level 1 Water Shortage Contingency Plan: Voluntary Compliance
- Education and Outreach: We will continue to expand our education and outreach initiatives, working to raise awareness about responsible water usage within our community.
- Increased Water Waste Patrols: Our dedicated teams will intensify water waste patrols to identify and address any instances of water misuse.
- Targeting High Water Users: We will focus on the top 100 water users in our city, collaborating with them to explore opportunities for water conservation.
While we are pleased to announce the lifting of our Level 2 restrictions, it's important to note that certain water conservation measures established by the State Water Board remain in place. These regulations serve as the baseline for responsible water management and must be followed by all residents in California. Your continued adherence to these guidelines is crucial as we work together to ensure a sustainable water future for our state.

Can I Wash My Car?

Yes, residents are encouraged to maintain their vehicles and wash their cars. To practice responsible water usage, please use a hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle, ensuring controlled and efficient water flow. Consider directing runoff towards vegetated or rock areas when available, and opt for cleaning detergents without harsh chemicals to minimize environmental impact.

Can I Water Decorative Grass?

You are allowed to water decorative grass on your property unless you are in commercial, industrial, or institutional areas, including common areas of homeowner's associations (HOAs). However, please make sure that your watering practices do not lead to excessive runoff.

Can I water at any time of day?

Yes, restrictions relating to time of day watering have been removed, allowing you the flexibility to water your landscape when it suits your schedule. Keep in mind that watering in the evenings or mornings can improve plant health by reducing water loss to evaporation during hot daytime hours. However, please remember to use water wisely and avoid wastage. Additionally, it's important to note that the application of water to irrigate turf or ornamental landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall of at least one fourth of one inch of rain is prohibited.

For more information: Water Conservation Portal - Emergency Conservation Regulation | California State Water Resources Control Board

Should I Consider Water-Wise Plants?

While not mandatory, we strongly encourage you to explore the idea of reducing decorative grass watering and replacing it with water-wise plants. This proactive step helps conserve water and makes your landscape more resilient to climate variations. Check out our Cash to Grass rebate program, which can provide up to $1000 for grass removal.

Where Can I Get Practical Tips for Landscaping?

For valuable information and practical tips on converting your landscape and creating a climate-ready yard, we invite you to visit SaveOurWater.com. Additionally, you can visit QWEL.net to find Qualified Water Efficient landscapers in your area.

Can I Fill or Refill My Pool?

Yes, the State Water Board's emergency regulations do not restrict the filling, refilling, or use of swimming pools. You are still allowed to maintain your pool.

Can I Fill Decorative Fountains and Pools?

Yes, you can fill decorative fountains and pools with a recirculating pump, promoting responsible water use and conservation in our community.

What is the City doing to save water?

The City is taking several steps including:

  1. Promoting water conservation messaging.
  2. Making it easier to report water waste on the City's website and Reach Rohnert Park app.
  3. Increasing enforcement against those who waste water. We initially place a door hanger to help educate the homeowner, and then issue fines if problems continue.
  4. Offering rebates for low-flow toilets and clothes washers, and giving away low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators and water-saving nozzles. 
  5. Offering Cash for Grass which provides a $1 per square foot rebate, up to 1,000 square feet of lawn removed.

What can I do to help save water?

Irrigation accounts for approximately 50% of summertime water use. By turning off irrigation during the winter and conserving water in the warmer months, we can achieve our community-wide 20% water savings goal.

  • Purchase a front-load washing machine and/or high efficiency toilet.
  • Run the dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads only.
  • Consider replacing your lawn with a low-water use alternative landscape. The City of Rohnert Park is offering $1 per square foot rebate through our Cash for Grass program.

For other ideas, go to www.savingwaterpartnership.org
Gallons Per Person Per Day

Where do we get our water?

We have three sources of water: 45% from the Russian River, 35% from groundwater, and 20% from recycled wastewater. The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) relies on the Russian River and two reservoirs, Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino.

The recycled water irrigates our parks and street medians, landscapes at schools and some businesses, Roberts Lake, Foxtail Golf Course and Sonoma State University.

Is the City's water supply enough to get us through the drought?

Yes, we have enough water to get us through the drought. In the long run, even accounting for dry years, Rohnert Park’s water supply can meet the needs of our current and new residents.
2020 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP)

If we have enough water to get us through the drought, why are we focused on conserving?

The state’s water restrictions are based on the overall state and regional situations. The state does not account for local conditions such as those in Rohnert Park, where we have enough water.

Why are we building new housing when we have experienced extended periods of drought?

There is a critical shortage of housing in Sonoma County and residents use less water than ever before. Our residents are using 16% less water than compared to 2013, even with the addition of new homes. In addition to expanding the use of recycled water, new housing must have low-flow plumbing and drought tolerant landscaping. Because of these changes and others, in the long run, even accounting for dry years, Rohnert Park’s water supply can meet the needs of our current residents and the new housing.

Does the City have a Water Shortage Contingency Plan?

Yes, we do! The City of Rohnert Park has a water contingency plan. A 2022 update of Rohnert Park's Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) can be found here.   


Additional Information and Resources

Rebate Information

The City offers rebates to help residents save water. To download an application please click on the banners or links below or call 707-585-6750 for more information.

Green House Call for Homeowners and Renters - NEW!

Rising Sun Center for Opportunity, a Bay Area non-profit, partners with cities and PG&E Energy Watch Partnerships to deliver the California Youth Energy Services program (CYES). CYES employs local young adults in meaningful, positive work experience where they can make a difference in their community, help the environment, and shape their future success. Youth Energy Specialists work in teams of two to provide neighbors with no-cost Green House Calls. By installing energy and water saving devices in local homes, Rising Sun Energy Center prevents 28 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.
Receive an energy and water conservation assessment and installation at no cost. Staff will check homes for efficiency, install equipment, and provide personalized recommendations for further savings. Staff will evaluate all water devices, inspect water pressure, and check for leaks. Residents receive free materials and services that reduce their water consumption. For more information or to be placed on the list to receive a Green House Call, please call (510) 665-1501.

High Efficiency Toilet (HET) Rebate for Residential Customers

Receive up to $150 for the purchase of a new high-efficiency toilet. These HETs flush with 1.28 gallons of water (or less). New toilets must replace toilets that flush 3.5 gallons or more (Pre-1992). Download the application and list of qualifying toilets.

High Efficiency Clothes Washer Rebate for Residential Customers Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership Logo

Receive $75 for the purchase of a new water-saving, front-load washing machine. Download the application and list of qualifying washers. Please note that this program only rebates High-Efficiency Clothes Washers that are listed as Tier 3 on the Consortium for Energy Efficiency’s (CEE) List.

Report a Leak or Water Waste

To report a leak or water waste please call 707-588-3343 or click here. Please provide the date, time, street address and a brief description of the occurrence.

More Information and Resources

Free Mulch Program

Rohnert Park is offering FREE mulch to residents.  Our mulch pile is located in the Callinan Sports Center parking lot, at 5405 Snyder Lane.  Self-service only so bring your shovel and load up as much as you want!

Cash 4 Grass

The City of Rohnert Park is offering residents a cash rebate of $1 per square foot of turf replaced.  In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must:

  • Be a water customer of the City of Rohnert Park AND the owner of the property (residential only).
  • Agree to brief pre- and post-installation inspections.
  • At the pre-inspection visit lawns must be green, regularly mowed, irrigated, and well taken care of. Dead lawns or lawns already removed at the time of the pre-inspection will not be eligible for rebate.
  • Replace lawn with water-conserving plants, vegetable gardens, or other low-water-using plant material, using sufficient mulch material around new plants.
  • Modify the lawn irrigation system so that newly landscaped areas are served through a separate valve that can be controlled independently. Existing lawn sprinkler heads must be removed.
  • Install a drip system for all new plant material (sprayheads are unacceptable).
  • Agree to not reinstall turf. If turf is reinstalled, the entire rebate amount must be returned.

Applicants are ineligible for the program if:

  • You replace your lawn with a pool, building extensions, hardscape or non-drought tolerant landscaping.
  • Well water is used to irrigate the landscaping.
  • Your replacement project is irrigated with the same sprinklers as the replaced lawn area.

In order to participate applicants must:

Step 1: Call the City of Rohnert Park Office at (707) 588-3300 and schedule a brief pre-inspection visit.

Step 2: After pre-inspection of site is completed and project is approved, proceed with replacement project.
Your project must receive pre-approval in order to qualify for rebate. Project must be completed within 120 days from the date of approval.

Step 3: Schedule a post-installation inspection upon completion of project. Post-inspection must take place within the 120-day period of the pre-inspection.

Step 4: Mail in your application (make copies for your own files). Rebates are for square feet of lawn removed only. No labor or material costs will be reimbursed.

Program is available while funding lasts. Resolution No. 2021-093

The City of Rohnert Park is committed to water conservation. City staff is here to help our residents and businesses conserve water and reduce the discharge of wastewater through a variety of programs, services, tools, tips and rebates. 

Watch a virtual tour of the Water Reuse System at the Laguna Treatment Plant, where sewage from homes and businesses is treated to become recycled water: