Riverside Public Utilities

Drought Status

After an unusually wet rainy season, most of California was pulled out of a severe drought. However, climate change has made the state’s dry and wet spells more extreme and unpredictable. Also, Riverside water comes from groundwater basins that take several wet years to recover. Water use efficiency and conservation are important for all Californians, and RPU is committed to water reliability now and into the future.

On March 24, 2023, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-5-23, which reduced emergency drought requirements. Below is a summary of what regulations ended in June 2023 and which remain applicable to Riverside:

  • Ends the voluntary 15% water conservation target, while continuing to encourage that Californians make conservation a way of life
  • Ends the requirement that local water agencies implement Level 2 of their drought contingency plans

  • Maintains the ban on wasteful water uses, such as irrigation runoff, hosing driveways or sidewalks, etc.
  • Maintains the ban on watering nonfunctional turf grass on commercial properties. This regulation was readopted by the State Water Resources Control Board and will be in effect through June 2024.


As a reminder, the wasteful water activities below are always prohibited in the City of Riverside per the Water Conservation Ordinance regardless of shortage level or drought emergency order.

  • Irrigation runoff
  • Use of hoses dispensing potable water without a shut-off nozzle
  • Hosing driveways or sidewalks
  • Use of potable water in a fountain or decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system
  • Outdoor watering during and within 48 hours of measurable rainfall
  • Serving drinking water other than upon request in eating/drinking establishments
  • Irrigation with potable water of landscapes outside of newly constructed homes and buildings in a manner inconsistent with regulations or other requirements established by the California Building Standards Commission and the Department of Housing and Community Development

​​If you see water waste happening in Riverside, please visit RiversideCA.gov/311 to report the activity.​

Check out our Outdoor and Indoor water rebates to support water-saving efforts and follow these additional Indoor & Outdoor Water Efficiency and Conservation tips to help stretch our water supplies further into the future.

Save Our Water & Our City of Trees

Drought conditions are expected to intensify in the future so we need to make sure we’re using water responsibly and making every drop count. This includes prioritizing your trees. Trees are investments that would take more water, time, and money to replace if lost to drought versus keeping them alive. So, remember to give those trees the TLC they need year-round. A properly watered tree is more resilient to drought and disease.

Follow these quick Tree Care Tips:

  • Mulch to conserve moisture
  • Newly planted trees (less than two years old) will need five gallons of water, once a week. A bucket is great for this. Water the area under the dripline.
  • Young trees (less than three years old) are starting to get established and require a deep watering of ten gallons, once every two weeks under the dripline.
  • Mature trees (older than 3 years) need deep watering. Water deeply within the dripline when the top six inches of soil around your mature tree has dried out or once per month.

Learn more Tree Care Tips by visiting:

California Urban Forests Council | Growing Trees Make Great Communities

Save Our Water and Our Trees | California ReLeaf

Save Our Water and Our Trees | Canopy

Drought FAQs

The City of Riverside receives its water from local groundwater basins, which are replenished by rain and snow, though at a lower rate than normal.  Riverside has many years’ worth of water in reserve. While there is no near-term risk to Riverside’s water supplies, there may be a long-term risk which is why saving water today is so important for our future.
100% of  Riverside’s water comes from local groundwater supplies. Riverside extracts its water from three groundwater basins: Bunker Hill Basin, Rialto-Colton Basin, and the Riverside Basin. Riverside’s water rights are based on natural recharge over a 40-year hydrologic (precipitation) cycle.

Yes, trees provide multiple benefits to the community and environment. Trees should be irrigated appropriately to meet their water needs. You can find more information and resources on watering trees by visiting the following websites:

California Urban Forests Council | Growing Trees Make Great Communities

Save Our Water and Our Trees | California ReLeaf

Save Our Water and Our Trees | Canopy

Save Our Water and Our Trees | Watering Mature Trees

Yes. Currently, there are no restrictions against filling or refilling swimming pools. However, we highly recommend that you consider installing a pool cover to reduce evaporation.
Yes, water play is allowed. However, water running down the driveway and sidewalk is considered waste and not allowed.
If you spot water runoff or other water waste, you may report it through the 311 mobile app or online form. Please make sure to provide exact address and identify the water waste issue.
Western customers can get more information at wmwd.com.   


Maintaining a Healthy Landscape in a Drought | Helpful Tips (PDF)

Eastern Municipal Water District | emwd.org

Western Municipal Water District | wmwd.com/drought

Save Water and Money with RPU Rebates | RiversidePublicUtilities.com/Rebates

Save Water. Save California | SaveOurWater.com

Save Our Water and Our Trees | California ReLeaf

California Urban Forests Council | Growing Trees Make Great Communities

State Water Resources Control Board | FAQ (Updated June 6, 2022)