West Marin Area Drought FAQs
- What is considered efficient water-use?
Home water use varies based on the number of occupants, habits, and the efficiency level of water-using fixtures installed. Home water use also fluctuates seasonally based on the size and type of irrigated landscape, with outdoor use accounting for approximately 50% of annual water use for single-family residences even though most irrigation occurs during the six months from May through October.
Indoor water use can typically be met using no more than 50 gallons per person per day, with more efficient homes using as little as 25-30 gallons per person per day. For a family of four, average indoor use ranges from around 3,000 gallons to 6,000 gallons per month. Even if you aren’t sure about your usage per day, you can help us achieve our critical goal of reducing water use community-wide by 25%.
The District offers many rebates for irrigation system improvements and for converting turf grass to low water use landscaping. Visit our website at www.nmwd.com/save-water for detailed information on all our conservation programs. Contact us at [email protected] or call 415-761-8944 before starting a project to make sure it meets the requirements to be eligible for a rebate.
- How can I figure out how much water I use and how much water I am saving?
Visit https://nmwd.com/account/watersmart/ to access the WaterSmart portal. This portal for West Marin customers can give you historical billing water data for comparison purposes.
The District is continuing to offer a pilot program for the shared cost purchase and use of a water monitoring and leak detection device called Flume. These devices attach to your meter and relay real time water use data and leak alerts through your Wi-Fi. If you are interested in participating, please email your contact information and service address to [email protected], and staff can provide you with the website link for the shared cost purchase.
- How do I cut back my water use if I’m already efficient with my water use?
The request for a 25% reduction in water use is a collective, community-wide, target and not necessarily an individual target. The only time the 25% reduction would be examined on an individual customer basis is if you have overhead spray irrigation and are identified as violating one of the other prohibited water uses. If you were not meeting the 25% reduction at that time, the District would work cooperatively with you to make further adjustments.
- How will the drought surcharge affect my water bill?
For customers in the West Marin Service Area, the drought surcharge is not in effect at this time. In 2021, for residential customers, the drought surcharge applied when water use was above 200 gallons per day average in a billing period. For example, if the billing period is 60 days, you would not be assessed the drought surcharge for the first 12,000 gallons (60 days x 200 gallons per day). Only water use above that 200 gallons per day average will be billed the $2.50 per 1,000 gallons. The drought surcharge was applicable to all water use for non-residential customers in 2021.
For drought surcharge information effective after July 1, 2022, please refer to the information regarding the restructured drought surcharge located here.
- What mandatory water use restrictions are in place?
Below is a summary of the water-use prohibitions approved for the West Marin Service Area in 2021:
- The washing of sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots and other hard surfaced areas by direct hosing when runoff water directly flows to a gutter or storm drain.
- The escape of water through breaks or leaks within the customers’ plumbing or private distribution system for any substantial period of time within which such break or leak should reasonably have been discovered and corrected within 72 hours.
- Irrigation in a manner or to an extent which allows excessive run-off of water or unreasonable over-spray of the areas being watered.
- Washing cars, boats, trailers or other vehicles and machinery directly with a hose not equipped with a shutoff nozzle.
- Water for non-recycling decorative water fountains.
- Potable water for outdoor landscaping during or within 48 hours of measurable rainfall or water on ornamental turf in public street medians.
- Drinking water other than on request in eating or dining establishments.
- Water for the daily laundering of towels and linens in hotels and motels without offering guests the option of choosing not to have daily laundering.
- Refilling a completely drained swimming pool and/or initial filling of any swimming pool for which application for a building permit was made after May 5, 2020.
Non-Essential Water Use Prohibitions Effective July 1, 2021 through November 1, 2021:
- Discontinued for 2022: Overhead sprinkler irrigation is prohibited unless the customer can maintain a 25% reduction from 2013 water use, irrigate between 7:00pm and 9:00am, and water only one (1) day per week. Drip irrigation is limited to two (2) days per week. Customers using less than 200 gallons per day are exempt from the 25% reduction but must adhere to the days per week irrigation limitations.
- Any use of potable water from a fire hydrant except for fighting fire, human consumption, essential construction needs or use in connection with animals.
- Non-commercial washing of privately-owned motor vehicles, trailers and boats except from a bucket and except that a hose equipped with a shut off nozzle may be used for a quick rinse.
- Use of potable water for dust control at construction sites or other locations.
- How do I report water waste or other violations to the water use prohibitions?
If water waste is occurring at a neighbor’s property, try to contact them first. If you are unable to talk with your neighbor or identify which property is responsible or wish to remain anonymous, you can report the issue to the District by emailing [email protected] or calling 415-761-8944. We will investigate the matter and follow up as needed.
- Can I “top off” my existing pool to maintain the water level?
Yes, you can maintain the water level of your existing pool. Only refilling drained pools and initially filling new pools is prohibited after May 1, 2020.
- Am I required to cover my pool?
No, you are not required to cover your pool, however, it is recommended and North Marin Water District provides a rebate for pool covers. https://nmwd.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Pool-Cover-2021-May-1.pdf
- How many days a week am I allowed to irrigate my landscaping?
There are no current restrictions on how many days you can irrigate your landscaping, however, runoff from your irrigation or property is still prohibited.
- Can I water my vegetable garden or fruit trees?
Water use prohibitions do not apply to plants grown to provide food that are watered by hand, drip irrigation or containers. Watering by hand is the most efficient use of water.
- Is North Marin Water District allowing new connections during this drought?
There are no current new connection restrictions as of February 1, 2022. In 2020 through 2021, North Marin Water District suspended new connections to the system as of July 1 until the water shortage period has ended, with some exceptions for those who defer all landscape installation until after the water shortage has ended.
- Is North Marin Water District asking residents to limit their water use to a certain amount?
In 2022, customers are requested to voluntarily conserve 15%. In 2020 through 2021, the North Marin Water District had service area wide goal is a 25% reduction in overall water use, however, we were not asking all customers to individually save 25%, unless they use overhead spray irrigation, however, water use was not be examined on an individual customer basis unless a customer had been identified as violating one of the water use prohibitions.
- What is North Marin Water District doing to help customers save water?
We offer many programs and incentives to save water, including rebates for many indoor and outdoor water-using activities. Visit our website www.nmwd.com/save-water for detailed information. Email us at [email protected] or call 415-761-8944.
- Make sure you have water-efficient fixtures such as toilets, showerheads, faucets and irrigation systems. We offer free hose shutoff nozzles, faucet aerators and showerheads to customers.
- Remove your lawn and get a Cash for Grass rebate of up to $1 per square-foot of lawn removed.
- Install a smart irrigation controller that automatically adjusts to the weather to deliver just the right amount of water and receive a rebate.
- Check for leaks and fix them as soon as you find them. We offer free toilet leak detection dye tablets.
- Replace your older washing machine with a high-efficiency model and apply for a rebate of up to $100.
- Cover your pool with a new cover and get a rebate of up to $75.
- Install a new hot water recirculating system and get a rebate of up to $75.
- Replace your spray irrigation with a drip system, or mulch your existing planted areas and get a rebate of 50-75% the cost of the materials.
- Replace your old toilets (pre 1993) and get a $125 rebate.
- What is North Marin Water District doing about water wasters or violators to the water use prohibitions?
We intend to initially work with the customer to take corrective action. If a cooperative approach is not successful, we will issue written or verbal warnings for first time violations. A second or un-resolved first violation can result in a $250 fine and/or service disconnection, and any subsequent violations can result in a $500 fine and/or service disconnection. If you see water waste, you can report it by emailing us at [email protected], or calling us at 415-761-8944.
- What is North Marin Water District doing to improve water quality during this drought?
North Marin Water District is committed not only to serving water to customers that meets or surpasses all state and federal standards for quality, but also tastes good. Significant investments are being made for the permitting and construction of a new source well that is not vulnerable to salinity intrusion and is capable of meeting the production demands of the system. Unfortunately, due to permitting delays beyond our control, this new source well will not be available for use this Summer when salt levels are expected to increase again. Since a portion of NMWD’s customers with severe sodium restrictions may again find it necessary to use alternative sources of water, NMWD is planning to provide a source of low saline water via a filling station. The target threshold to activate a filling station will be when salinity reaches a concentration of 115 mg/L. This threshold represents 10% of the recommended daily intake value for sodium presented by the FDA dietary guidelines. The filling station facilities will be located near our treatment facilities at the former Coast Guard Housing Property in downtown Point Reyes Station. Check back on our website for more details as this program is developed.