Guide to seasonal watering rules in Sacramento

The grass shouldn’t always be greener.

A patch of green grass in a soccer field

Many of the restrictions center on grass and sprinkler use.

Photo by SACtoday Staff

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Starting Wednesday, Nov. 1, the City of Sacramento will change how often it permits residents and businesses to water their landscapes.

But no need to sweat — we’re providing a breakdown of the city’s watering rules, highlighting a few exceptions to them, and sharing local resources to consider if you’re feeling tired of turf and traditional sprinklers.

💧 When to water

Following a water conservation ordinance that was passed by City Council in 2017, Sacramento residents and businesses must biannually adjust how often they irrigate their landscapes with sprinklers.

Here’s how the changes shake out:

  • From Nov. 1-Feb. 28 of each year, landscapes can be watered once per week at anytime on Saturday or Sunday. However, watering during the week is prohibited.
  • From March 1-Oct. 31 of each year, watering is allowed two days per week. Which days of the week you can water is determined by your address.

Additionally, if at any time one-eighth of an inch of rain has fallen, watering is not permitted for 48 hours.

🥬 Exceptions to the rule

The conservation ordinance primarily restricts watering grass and the use of sprinklers. You are exempt from the ordinance if you:

  • Use drip irrigation
  • Use a hose and spray nozzle
  • Have a city-approved smart controller
  • Have an edible garden
  • Have potted plants

You are also exempt from the watering rules up to 30 days after you install new landscaping, or when there are more than two days in a row above 100°.

📚 Resources to consider

If you are wanting to replace your sprinkler system with drip irrigation, or if you would like to replace your lawn with water-wise plants, the city offers a robust rebate program. You can even receive assistance with landscape design.

If you’d like to learn more about drought-tolerant landscaping, also known as xeriscaping, check out our guide.

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