Water Resources and ConservationDepartment Home

Conserve Water - The Right Thing to Do!

Water Saving Tips for You to Adopt Today
The biggest challenge to achieving sustained water conservation throughout our community is getting folks to change their habits and routines. There are so many ways to save water, and they all start with you! Below is a list of just a few of the ways you can start saving water, money and energy today:

  • Adjust your irrigation run-times regularly (weekly) to reflect current weather conditions. Don’t be that person who turns the irrigation timer on in the spring and off in the winter without making adjustments in-between! Learn more here.
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run. Get in the habit of turning water off and on while rinsing and scrubbing or use a bucket to capture running water and then water your plants with the bucket of water, you can even flush the toilet with the bucket of water by pouring it directly into the bowl!
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently (at least monthly) and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn and landscape plants are watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full and you save up to one thousand gallons per month.
  • Plant turf only in areas that will be used for recreation. There are many low water use turf substitutes that you can plant instead.
  • Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost food waste to eliminate the need for running your disposal.
  • Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for cold drinks.
  • Check your water meter and water bill to track your water usage. To learn how to read your meter click here.
  • Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours, when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
  • Use a 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water per year. The thicker the better.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk.
  • If your shower can fill a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, install a water-efficient showerhead. Visit our Free Stuff page to get low-water use shower heads for free.
  • Collect the water you use for rinsing produce and other food items in the sink and reuse it to water houseplants.
  • Divide your landscape watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water. For more landscaping tips visit Bay Friendly Landscaping.
  • We're more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks. Leaks account for 10-15% of all water use!
  • Periodically check your pool for leaks, especially if you have an automatic refilling device. These auto-fill devices will commonly malfunction causing significant water waste.
  • Buy only high efficiency toilets, washing machines and other water using appliances. Visit our Rebate Center for more information.
  • Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes.
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades root systems and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
  • When you clean your fish tank, use the water you've drained on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.
  • Check your toilet for leaks regularly. Put dye tabs (or non-staining food coloring) in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 600 gallons a month. Visit our Free Stuff page to get dye tabs for free.
  • When taking a bath plug the bathtub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff into the storm drain.
  • Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden. To learn more about rain water catchment, click here.
  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day. This will cut down on the number of times you run your dishwasher.
  • Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering during rain.
  • Don't use running water to thaw food.
  • Choose a water-efficient drip irrigation system for trees, shrubs and flowers. Watering at the roots is very effective.
  • Fix that leaky faucet NOW. It's simple, inexpensive, and can save 140 gallons a week.
  • Reduce/remove the amount of turf in your yard by sheet mulching and planting native and low water use shrubs. Turf is one of the highest water users in your yard. Take advantage of our FREE Mulch Madness program
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • Teach your children the importance of water conservation. Start them off with good conservation habits.
  • Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save significant amounts of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.
  • When watering grass on steep slopes, water for shorter more frequent periods to prevent wasteful runoff. You can time how long it takes for run off to occur and then set your irrigation timer appropriately. For more landscaping tips visit Bay Friendly Landscaping.
  • Group plants with the same watering needs together on the same irrigation valve. This way you will not over water low water use plants when you are watering high water use plants. For more landscaping tips visit Bay Friendly Landscaping.
  • Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water. For more landscaping tips visit Bay Friendly Landscaping.
  • While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed. Use only organic fertilizers. For more landscaping tips visit Bay Friendly Landscaping.
  • Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation.
  • Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Don't buy recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth or shave and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That's 200 gallons per week for a family of four!
  • Encourage your school system and employer to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among students and employees.
  • Teach your family how to shut off your automatic watering systems. Turn sprinklers off if the system is malfunctioning or when a storm is approaching. Turn your system off from Halloween until mid-spring.
  • Set a kitchen timer that beeps until you turn it off when watering your lawn or garden with a hose.
  • Make sure your toilet flapper doesn't stick open after flushing. Replace it if it does. Toilet flappers are very inexpensive.
  • Make sure there are aerators on all of your faucets. Visit our Free Stuff page to get free faucet aerators.
  • Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant or California native for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch each day.
  • Cut back on rinsing if your dishwasher is new. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  • Do at least one thing each day that will save water. Even if savings are small, every drop counts.
  • When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
  • Winterize outdoor hose bibs when temps dip to 20 degrees F° to prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.
  • Insulate hot water pipes so you don't have to run as much water to get hot water to the faucet.
  • Drop that tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
  • If you have an evaporative cooler, direct the water drain to a landscaped area.
  • Make suggestions to your employer to save water (and dollars) at work.
  • Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and other uses.
  • Use a hose-end nozzle and turn off the water while you use your hose. Visit our Free Stuff page to get hose-end nozzles for free.
  • Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water-conscious community.
  • If your toilet was installed prior to 1980 replace it with a new High Efficiency Toilet (HET). The City of Petaluma offers up to $150 rebate for your new HET.
  • Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum number of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness.
  • Wash clothes only when you have a full load and save up to 600 gallons each month.
  • Pick-up the phone and report water waste from broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers. Call our Water Conservation Hotline at (707) 778-4507 or click here.
  • Start a compost pile. Using compost adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  • More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Be sure only to water plants when necessary.
  • Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition your hair and you can save more than 50 gallons a week.
  • Bath your pets outdoors in an area in need of water.
  • Water only as rapidly as the soil can absorb the water.
  • Aerate your lawn. Aeration reduces compaction and allows for gas exchange to occur therefore increasing water retention.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  • Reuse your towels and clothing as long as possible.
  • Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into a compost bin to minimize garbage disposal usage.
  • Install a gray water system and rain catchment system rather than letting water run into the sewer line. The City of Petaluma allows for gray water and rain water systems as long as they are designed properly. Email the City of Petaluma’s Community Development Department or call 707-778-4301 for more information.
  • Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
  • When you are washing your hands, don't let the water run while you lather.
  • Whenever you are using water, ask yourself “Am I using water as efficiently as possible”.

Contact Information

Director, Public Works and Utilities
Dan St. John, F.ASCE
202 N. McDowell Blvd
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone: 707-778-4546
Fax: 707.206.6034
Email: dstjohn@ci.petaluma.ca.us

Administrative Offices
202 North McDowell Blvd.
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone: 707.778.4546
Fax: 707.206.6034
Email: water@ci.petaluma.ca.us
Hours: 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Monday - Friday

Utility Billing
11 English Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone: 707.778.4350
Hours: 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Monday – Thursday

Water, Sewer, or Storm Water Emergency
Phone: 707.778.4546

Water Conservation
Phone: 707.778.4507
Email: conservation@ci.petaluma.ca.us

Report Water Waste

Field Office
202 N. McDowell
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone: 707.776.3777