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March 24, 2023 9:03PM
March 24, 2023 21:03PM

customer care

Help California save water

State-adopted watering restrictions in place for some commercial customers. Here's how IRWD can help.

A new state-mandated drought regulation, which took effect June 10, bans using drinking water to irrigate nonfunctional grass at commercial, industrial, and institutional properties. Details here.

The good news is almost all public and commercial landscape in the Irvine Ranch Water District service area is irrigated with recycled water. Recycled water is droughtproof and not subject to the restriction. So our communities will remain green and beautiful.

For commercial properties subject to the ban, IRWD is here to help — with turf-removal rebates, professional water-efficiency advice, and more. Please learn more here.

The restrictions do not apply to residential customers. And we want all our customers to know that your water supply here is in good shape. However, we urge you to use water wisely during the statewide drought. Save water and money by staying within your monthly water budget.

Water reliability is precariously uncertain in other regions of the state, and we should all pitch in to help. Look below for tips and answers to drought-related questions.

The State Water Board has adopted an emergency regulation requiring the following statewide drinking (potable) water use restrictions: 

  • Do not water in a way that causes runoff onto pavement or adjacent property.
  • If you wash your car with a hose, it must have an automatic shut-off nozzle.
  • Use a broom or leaf blower, not water, to clean hard or paved surfaces.
  • Do not use potable water for street cleaning or construction site preparation.
  • Turn off decorative water fountains that do not recirculate water. (Fountains and water features that use pumps to recirculate water or that use recycled water are permitted.)
  • Turn off or pause your irrigation system during rain and two days after rain.
  • Do not irrigate public street medians with potable water. (Irrigation with recycled water is permitted.)
  • Give trees just what they need: Avoid overwatering.
  • Do not use single-pass cooling equipment.

Read here and here for details and exceptions.

In addition, a new state-mandated regulation bans using drinking water to irrigate nonfunctional grass at commercial, industrial, and institutional properties. Get details here.

A key component of IRWD’s water efficiency efforts is the use of a Budget-Based Rate Structure. Customers receive a monthly water budget that provides for a reasonable amount of water for indoor and outdoor use. Customers are billed based on actual amount of water used. Water usage of up to 100% of the water budget is billed at the two lower tiers. If a customer goes over their monthly water budget, the water is billed at increasingly higher tiers based on IRWD’s actual cost to provide water service. To learn more about budget based rates, please visit our Residential Water Rates web page. 

In addition, IRWD is stretching our water supplies by expanding the use of recycled water throughout the service area to reduce demands on drinking water use. To learn more about the extensive use of recycled water please visit Residential Water Rates web page. 

The IRWD RightScape program offers free classes and programs as well as money saving rebates to assist customers in efficient water use, including the installation of drought tolerant landscaping.

No. IRWD's Level Two Water Shortage Plan prohibits homeowners associations from fining or assessing owners for reducing or eliminating the watering of vegetation or lawns.

In addition, State regulations state that common interest associations shall not fine or assess owners of separate interests for reducing or eliminating the watering of vegetation or lawns, unless the association uses only recycled water for irrigation of the association’s common areas and recycled water is also available at the irrigated area of the separate interest.

NOTE: Please notify your HOA before beginning any kind of turf removal project.

Visit our HOA Q&A page to get more answers to your HOA questions. 

No. IRWD uses the budget based rate structure that sends a price signal to discourage water wasters. Customers that exceed their monthly water budget will pay significantly more for their water use. The price increases are assessed through the rate structure tiers and are based on the actual cost of water and the amount of water used during the month.

No. IRWD uses a budget based rate structure to limit outdoor watering. Rather than specifying which days a customer can water their yard, IRWD assigns each customer a monthly water budget that is tied to cost for IRWD to provide water service. This approach complies with the state emergency drought regulations and promotes long term behavior changes by sending a strong price signal that something is wrong, maybe a water leak or broken sprinkler timer. Customers are able to fix these problems and understand how they cause water over use.

Cities and counties plan and approve land uses within their boundaries through their general plans. They set long-range development policies, prepare environmental documents, and approve individual projects. Water retailers, such as IRWD, provide water supply assessments for land-use agencies' decision making process. The responsibility for final approval of development projects rests solely with cities and counties.

To report a leak by submitting a quick photo of the problem, Click here. Do you have a question about your turf rebate application? Or, are you exceeding your water budget and want to talk to a water efficiency specialist?

We're here to help. Fill out our Water Efficiency Contact form here, or call our water waste hotline at 949-453-5581.

When it comes to saving water, commercial, industrial and institutional water customers can make a BIG difference. So if you operate a business, join IRWD's WaterStar Business Recognition program. An efficiency expert will come to your business, analyze your water history, and survey your fixtures, equipment, and irrigation. We'll show you how to save water and money. And your business will earn a place in the firmament of IRWD WaterStars.

Take the guesswork out of saving water with the IRWD WaterInsight Program. Register for free at and receive water savings recommendations specific to your household. Benefits include:

  • See how your water use compares to households like yours
  • Discover where and when you're using the most water
  • Be alerted to potentially costly leaks
  • Find related rebates available to you
  • Get clear steps to complete a water-saving action

Help claim your spot among the most water efficient homes in the IRWD service area! Sign up at today.



Our yards can be the biggest source of water waste in Southern California. Click on the links below for ideas on simple but significant ways you can save water.
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Beautify your yard with water-wise plants  

Create a personalized palette of plants

Do a landscape checkup

Read The Dirt

Watch The Shed Show

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Check out our helpful tips for landscape design

Plan a sustainable garden

Let our garden gallery inspire you


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Types of systems

Money-saving rebates

Watering guide

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Planting tips:

Planting workshops

Healthy soil

Benefits of mulch



Simple changes in habit can lead to substantial water savings.


√  Use a weather-based timer for irrigation  

√  Water only twice a week in winter 

√  Sweep your walkways & driveway  

√  Adjust sprinklers to avoid overspray          

√  Turn off water while brushing teeth

√  Check for indoor & outdoor leaks

√  Register for our WaterInsight Program


  X  Do not overwater your landscape*

  X  Do not wash off hardscapes with the hose*

  Do not use a hose without a shutoff nozzle*

  Do not run sprinklers when it's raining*

  Do not ignore signs of a potential leak

  X  Do not let water run while washing dishes

   *Restrictions that are now mandated in California



Check out the graphic below to get an idea of your potential savings -- and the potential for waste when these opportunities are ignored. Looking for more ideas? Check out IRWD’s water efficiency workshops and DIY videos. We also offer several indoor water-saving rebates to help.

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