Water conservation rules

California water regulators have issued new rules to reduce the use of water statewide, including in Lakewood.

Local communities are now required to reduce water use by at least 15% from their 2020 usage. 

To help Lakewood meet its mandate, the city is moving to Stage 2 of our water conservation plan effective June 2022. 

The following rules apply to all residents and businesses served by the Lakewood Water Resources Department.

If you have questions about the new rules, please call Lakewood city staff at 562-866-9771, extension 2140 or email service1@lakewoodcity.org

The portion of Lakewood that is east of the San Gabriel River is served by the Golden State Water Company, which will be implementing its own conservation restrictions. For details, go to www.gswater.com or call 800-999-4033

New water conservation rules 

Landscape irrigation restrictions:

  • June to September: Up to 3 times a week for no more than 10 minutes per station/area/zone.
  • October to May: Up to 2 times a week for no more than 10 minutes per station/area/zone.

Water-wise sprinklers with high-efficiency standards, drip irrigation systems and hand watering with a shut-off nozzle:

  • June to September: Up to 3 times per week for 20 minutes per station/area/zone.
  • October to May: Up to 2 times per week for 20 minutes per station/area/zone.

Water-wise sprinklers emit water in narrow, finger-like streams at a much slower but more efficient rate (so they need more time) but with far less evaporation than spray sprinklers. 

General watering rules

  • Watering only BEFORE 9 a.m. and AFTER 5 p.m. 
  • Watering is prohibited during or within 48 hours of rainfall.
  • No hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes.
  • No sprinkler runoff to sidewalks, gutters and other landscape.
  • No washing cars and equipment, except from a bucket or hose with automatic shut-off nozzle. Note that commercial car washes mainly use recycled water so are allowed to continue operating.
  • Irrigation of trees may continue during the drought restrictions.

Additional rules for commercial, industrial and institutional property watering

No watering of "non-functional" turf (solely ornamental and not used for recreational purposes or for gatherings).

NOTE: Turf that uses recycled water is exempt from the restrictions.

Lakewood uses recycled water for irrigation

“Recycled water” is wastewater or stormwater that has been treated to a level that is safe to use for irrigation.

Many of Lakewood’s parkways and street medians are irrigated with recycled water, and you will continue to see them irrigated in the future.

Lakewood also operates a water truck that uses recycled water.

Be mindful of your water use to help us meet our goals 

Californians are urged to voluntarily do all they can to reduce water use by at least 15%. While Lakewood has adequate water supplies currently, reducing our local use will extend the life of our water supply.

A lot of water goes down the drain because of perceptions that water is plentiful and cheap--certainly not the case.

If a violation of the water rules is spotted, Lakewood will start with a friendly reminder about the rules. Then:

  • For a first formal violation, there will be a written warning from the city with no penalty.
  • A second violation will bring a citation of $100
  • Further citations will bring fines up to $500 and the potential for flow restrictors being installed at the residence.

Your smart meter can help

Now is a great time to check out the free information available to you from your "smart water meter" Lakewood installed four years ago. Review the reports to help reduce your water use, spot any leaks and save money. To get started, go to www.lakewoodcity.org/SmartWater.

Water-saving tips:

Easy ways to save hundreds of gallons around the house

Did you know that more than 10 percent of all water used in the home is used in washing? A clothes washer, at full cycle and highest water level, uses 30 to 50 gallons of water. The dishwasher requires up to 25 gallons.

Clothes or dishwasher: To save water, run only full loads, and set the water level for the size of load you are using. 

Result: Savings of 300 to 800 gallons per month.

Shower: Every minute of your shower uses 2.5 gallons of water. A low-flow showerhead only costs $10.00 but will save 50 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower. Most models have a shut off valve that will save even more water by stopping the water while you lather up. 

Result: Savings up to 700 gallons per month.

Driveways and sidewalks: Use a broom instead of a hose. Adjust sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden - and only there.

Result: Savings of 600 gallons a month.


How to water your trees during a drought

Your trees, including the tree in your parkway, are likely stressed from the drought and need to be watered regularly. 

Should I fertilize my tree during a drought? Not usually. Salts in fertilizer may burn roots when there is not sufficient water. Fertilizers may also stimulate top growth resulting in too much leaf area on the plant for the root system to maintain during periods of limited soil moisture. 

What is the best way to water my tree?

First, make sure the top soil layer doesn’t repel water. If the water beads and runs off, then break the surface soil up and apply a simple solution of soapy water (one tablespoon dish soap added to one gallon of water in a bucket) to the surface to get the soil wet again and ready to absorb water.

Saturate the soil within the “dripline” (the outer edges of the tree’s branches) to disperse water down toward the key roots that deliver water to the tree. A soaker hose laid at the dripline of the tree is an excellent way to apply water. Using a timer device is recommended. 

Deep watering to a depth of 12” below the soil surface is recommended. A general rule of thumb is to use approximately 10 gallons of water per inch of trunk diameter for each watering. Watering for short periods of time only encourages shallow rooting which can lead to more drought damage.

How often should I water my tree?

Small trees (1”-7” in diameter) – 3 times per month. Newly planted and smaller trees can get adequate water within the existing watering restrictions by hand watering with a hose and an automatic shut-off nozzle.

Medium trees (8”-15” in diameter) – 3 times per month, in several areas around the tree.

Large trees (16”+ in diameter) – Once every 3 weeks in several areas around the tree. 

Repair leaks and save water

Lakewood watering schedule and water saving tips brochure

If a faucet drips at a rate of just one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons of water per year.

To save water, fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints. 

Result: Savings of 20 gallons per day for every leak stopped.

As an extra saving step, retrofit all household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors to slow the flow of water. 

City of Lakewood water users can use the WaterSmart site to check their water use online. 

Saving water on your landscaping

Typically, 70 percent of the water consumed by households is used outdoors. Studies show that the average homeowner uses more than four times the actual amount of water needed to keep a lawn healthy and green.

Before you water, step on your grass. If it springs back when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. And reset sprinkler timers to water every third day and for fewer minutes. Result: Savings from 750 to 1,500 gallons per month.

Quick tips when planning or upgrading your landscaping:

Install a new "smart" sprinkler controller that applies just the right amount of water for your landscape based on your plants and garden, and local weather conditions.

Install California Friendly/water wise plants. Drought tolerant plants use less water and beautify a home in California Friendly style. There are a surprisingly large number of good-looking California Friendly/water wise plants from which to choose.

Think about how much lawn you need. Grass requires large amounts of water and constant care. A yard or garden full of California Friendly water wise plants may suit your tastes and your lifestyle just fine.

Group plants with similar water use. This allows you to install sprinklers that match watering requirements.

Use mulch and weed barriers. They retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Install three to four inches of mulch in planting beds. 

Learn more about water-wise landscaping.