Drought Regulations

In California, droughts are part of life, and so is using water wisely. Helix Water District and the other water utilities serving the San Diego region have worked together for decades to plan for water shortages. We encourage conservation and investment in new water resources. These steps help protect us against drought.

Permanent Water Efficiency Measures

On March 24, 2023, Governor Newsom rescinded the mandate requiring all water utilities to activate their Level 2 water conservation measures. However, the state continues its ban on watering decorative (non-functional) lawns at commercial, industrial, and institutional properties, including homeowner association common areas. This does not apply to residential lawns, sports fields, school fields, or areas regularly used for human recreational purposes or for civic or community events.

Helix Water District’s board of directors voted to end its Water Shortage Response Level 2, effective April 6, 2023. The district’s Permanent water efficiency measures, listed below, remain in effect. These measures are best practices to make sure we're all water-wise, and they are things that most of our customers already do.

Over the last 30 years, Helix and the other water utilities in the San Diego region invested $3 billion in water conservation and new water supplies. We have the water we need, even in dry years like this one, for decades to come.

During this time, Helix customers have helped this effort by reducing water use by almost half through your commitment to using water efficiently. These important efforts have allowed us to successfully navigate drought periods and reduce our reliance on water imported from outside of the San Diego region. 

Check out Save Water and Money for tips, rebates, and more to help you save water.

Helix Water Shortage Response Levels

To manage our water supply and prepare for future droughts, Helix's Board of Directors has adopted a Water Shortage Response Plan. We have six water shortage levels, with increasing restrictions, that we can enact during times of drought or decreasing water supplies - when we need extra conservation efforts. (Policies and Procedures Manual (PDF) Section 4.9).

LevelConservation TargetWater Use Limits
NormalZero WastePermanent
1Up to 10%Voluntary
2Up to 20%Mandatory
3Up to 30%Mandatory
4Up to 40%Mandatory
5Up to 50%Mandatory
6Above 50%Mandatory


Helix has permanent water use efficiency measures that are always in effect. These measures are best practices to make sure we're all water-wise, and they are things that most of our customers already do.

Irrigation (all customers)

  • Eliminate runoff from irrigation onto hardscape, streets, structures or adjacent properties. Water waste caused by overspray from sprinklers or low-head drainage is prohibited.
  • Do not water for at least 48 hours after rain.
  • Do not water turf on public street medians.

Other Outdoor Use (all customers)

  • Do not wash down paved surfaces, including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts or patios, unless required for public safety or sanitation.
  • Use recirculated water in ornamental fountains and water features.
  • Wash vehicles using a hose with a positive shutoff nozzle and a bucket, and avoid washing vehicles during hot conditions when additional water is required.

Commercial Water Use

  • Restaurants and other food service establishments may serve water upon request only.
  • Hotels, motels, and other commercial lodging establishments must offer guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.