Water & Drought

Do city of Sacramento landscape watering rules apply to drip irrigation?

Q: If I remember correctly, past water restrictions (in the city of Sacramento) allowed the watering of new landscaping on “no watering” days and drip systems were also exempt. Was/is that still true? – Raquel Beckett, Sacramento

Q: Do the city's watering restrictions apply to watering vegetable beds? – Jordan Lang, Sacramento

A: Within the city of Sacramento, drip irrigation systems can be used whenever you want. The present rules that limit landscape watering to only two days a week (based on an odd or even address) apply to sprinkler systems and hand watering, not drip irrigation, said Jessica Hess, spokeswoman for the city Utilities Department.

Also, new plantings (whether a new lawn, shrubs, decorative planters or garden beds) can be watered daily for as many as 21 consecutive days to help them get established. Afterward, the other rules apply.

“We actually encourage people to consider that planting now can help plants get established with limited water use,” Hess said. “This is because the cooler temperatures and rainfall mean you will need to water them less during the 21-day variance.”

Vegetable beds, once established, are not exempt from the watering rules and must heed the twice-a-week schedule if watered by sprinklers or by hand. But if they are on drip irrigation, they can be watered any time, Hess said.

Keep in mind, these rules apply only within the city of Sacramento. Other areas may have different rules, and residents outside the city should check with their own water provider.

– Matt Weiser

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