Make Water Conservation a Way of Life

Make Water Conservation a Way of Life

Make Water Conservation a Way of Life

Palo Alto's water is supplied by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) through the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir and distribution system. Learn more on our water resources page.

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Resources and Programs
Water Use Regulations
Report Water Waste
Water Supply

Due to Santa Clara County public health order directives, some programs and services have been modified.

  • For information on energy efficiency and other CPAU programs, please contact us at or (650) 329-2241.
  • For information on water conservation programs, please visit the Valley Water website, contact the Valley Water Conservation Unit at or by calling and leaving a message at (408) 630-2554.


Resources and Programs

Valley Water, CPAU's partner in water conservation, offers programs and rebates to help Palo Alto residents use water more efficiently in the landscape. 

To learn more or apply for any of the Landscape Rebates, contact Valley Water at or (408) 630-2554.

Additional Landscape Resources: 
South Bay Green Gardens 
Sherri Osaka Video Series on YouTube 

Did you know that recycling saves water? Read the facts in this poster. When placing containers in the recycling, there is no need to rinse them. Just scrape or pour out excess food and liquids. 

Stormwater Rebates

The City of Palo Alto’s Public Works department offers stormwater rebates for Palo Alto residents.  Some programs require a pre-inspection before the project can be completed. 

  • Rain Barrels
    • The City is offering residents a $50 rebate for the purchase and installation of each rain barrel, up to $1,000 maximum
  • Cisterns (Design review required)
    • The City offers residents a rebate of $0.15/gallon, up to $1,000 for cisterns
  • Permeable Pavement (Design review required)
    • The City offers residents a rebate of $1.05/ft.2 up to $1,000 for the installation of permeable pavement
  • Green Roofs (Design review required)
    • The City offers residents a rebate of $1.50/st.2 up to $1,000 for the installation of a green roof

To learn more or apply for any of the Stormwater Rebates, contact us at or at (650) 329-2295.

Check out our Save Energy and Water webpages page for other rebates and programs.


Free Water-Wise Outdoor Survey

Home irrigation systems are often inefficient, due to equipment placement/coverage, over-watering, misting and evaporation patterns, and outdated equipment. Residential single-family and small multi-family sites with at least one valve-operated irrigation zone are eligible to participate in Valley Water's Water-Wise Outdoor Survey.

Schedule an appointment online here.

Free DIY Water-Wise Indoor Survey Kit

Valley Water offers a Do-it-Yourself kit to evaluate indoor water use that includes a flow rate bag for testing shower and sink flow rates and dye tablets to test toilets for leaks. Included in the kit will be a step-by-step guide to evaluating water use, including:

  • Meter leak test
  • Toilet leak test
  • Sink/shower flow rates
  • General indoor leak information

To learn more, contact Valley Water at or (408) 630-2554.

Seasonal Workshops

Attend one of our free sustainable landscape workshops to get hands-on experience and expert training for your next landscape or water efficiency project. To view and register for classes, please visit

Join our Utility Efficiency Services eNewsletter service to receive updates on events and programs.

Other Resources

Residential Water Efficiency
Commercial Water Efficiency
City of Palo Alto Graywater Resources
Sample Water-Wise Landscapes
Canopy's Tree Library, Tree CareTree Watering Guidelines
Palo Alto's Landscape Water Efficiency Standards for New Construction

Water Use Regulations

The City of Palo Alto enforces permanent water use restrictions on wasteful practices such as leaks, runoff, irrigating during and immediately after rainfall, and use of potable water when non-potable water is available. Read about the City's guidelines and efficiency resources below.

  • Flooding or runoff is prohibited.
  • Turf and ornamental landscape* irrigation is not allowed between 10 am and 6 pm, except for hand watering with a bucket or a hose with a shut-off valve.
  • Broken or defective plumbing and irrigation systems must be repaired within a reasonable period.
  • A shut-off valve is required for hoses used to wash vehicles, buildings, etc.
  • Water in fountains or other decorative water features must be recirculated.
  • Commercial car washes must use recycled water systems if economically feasible.
  • Potable water for construction uses is prohibited is non-potable water is available.
  • Potable water for street sweepers/washers is prohibited if non-potable water is available

*“Ornamental landscape” refers to landscaping for purely decorative purposes, to be distinguished from edible gardens or landscapes that provide a function beyond aesthetics.

Current enforcement of the water use restrictions:

The City will notify customers when incidents of these water use restrictions are observed. This may be through use of a door hanger, email, phone call or letter. Notices are subject to fines and potential use of a flow restrictor on the water service.

  • 1st Notice: Doorhanger/Email/Phone call to customer
  • 2nd Notice: Doorhanger/Email/Phone call to customer
  • 3rd Notice: Certified letter from the Utility Director notifying customer of violation and potential future fines
  • 4th Notice: Fines

Report Water Waste

Use the free PaloAlto311 app on your smartphone or web application to report water waste. It's easy and allows us to track reports and follow up with you. Submit an online service request here.

You can also contact us by calling the Water Waste Hotline at (650) 496-6968 or email 

Water, Gas, Waste Water Emergencies:
Call Utilities Emergency Dispatch at (650) 329-2579.

Water Supply

Your Palo Alto Water Supply

This new video from our friends at BAWSCA talks about our precious water supply & how membership in this agency has helped CPAU, among other member agencies, protect our high-quality water at a fair price. 

Recycled Water & Other Alternative Water Sources

(Tuolumne river photo courtesy of Catherine Elvert, Utilities Communications Manager)

Last Updated: April 7, 2017