Southern California Area Office - Programs and Activities

Water Conservation Field Services Program

In Southern California, through the Bureau of Reclamation's Water Conservation Field Services Program (WCFSP), Reclamation encourages and facilitates water conservation and efficiency improvements, and assists agencies in meeting their demands for limited water resources.

photo of a running water faucetThe Southern California Area Office actively promotes water conservation in the area through several funding opportunities including:

  • Drought Response Program - Two funding opportunities are now available from the Bureau of Reclamation for entities to develop drought contingency plans and build long-term solutions to drought. These two funding opportunities are part of Reclamation's Drought Response Program. The drought contingency planning funding opportunity is for applicants to request up to $200,000 to develop a new drought plan or to update an existing drought plan. Applicants may also request technical assistance from Reclamation for the development of elements of the Drought Contingency Plan. States, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority located in the 17 Western United States and Hawaii are eligible for this funding opportunity. It is available at by searching for funding opportunity number BOR-DO-17-F009.

  • Water Conservation Field Services Program grants - These grants assist local districts in developing plans to support and complement existing State and local agency conservation programs. FY2003 - 2017 Grants Awarded

  • WaterSMART grants - Through the WaterSMART program, Reclamation provides 50/50 cost share funding to irrigation and water districts, Tribes, States and other entities with water or power delivery authority to develop projects that seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy, protect endangered species, or facilitate water markets. FY2010 - 2016 Grants Awarded

  • CALFED grants - These water use efficiency grants fund agricultural and urban projects that focus on improving ecosystem health, water supply, reliability, or water quality of the Bay-Delta, or help reduce Southern California's reliance on Bay-Delta water. FY2007 - 2016 Grants Awarded

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants - ARRA-funded water marketing and efficiency programs help increase the efficiency of existing water delivery systems across the West that can result in increased supplies for farms, cities, and the environment. FY2009 Grants Awarded

  • Technical Assistance - Reclamation also offers local agencies technical assistance to promote water conservation planning, or provides textbooks and computer software to help agencies develop plans for water savings. This program's partnerships with water agencies encourage:
    • water management planning,
    • system optimization review,
    • designing water management improvements, and
    • demonstration projects.

  • Water Smart Gardening Websites by GardenSoft - Funded in part by the Bureau of Reclamation

  • Research Funded by the Science and Technology Program

Technical Reports and Resources

The following publications provide information that may be helpful for Southern California agencies and businesses in implementing water conservation practices:

  • Municipal Water District of Orange County's Spray-to-Drip Conversion Pilot Project (January 2018) -- This project encouraged replacement of high-water-using spray heads with efficient low-water-using drip irrigation at residential and commercial properties. The objective of this Program is to attain quantifiable and sustained water savings and improved water management, resulting in an increase in energy efficient water management and promotion of activities that support water supply sustainability. The Program also expands District's existing suite of landscape rebate opportunities beyond Smart Timer Rebates, Rotating Sprinkler Nozzle Rebates, and Turf Removal. Total water savings combined for both commercial and residential sites is estimated to be 64 AF/year over a 10-year period.

  • Chino Basin Water Conservation District Residential Weather Based Irrigation Controller (WBIC) Installation Program (October 2017) – This program installed 300 WBICs at residential locations to help reduce water demand by about 40 acre-feet per year. WBICs provide an appropriate watering schedule, adjust for weather changes, and irrigate based on the needs of the landscape and soil conditions.

  • City of Big Bear Lake Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Program (September 2017) – The City’s Department of Water and Power aims to replace 15,500 aging manual-read meters with AMI meters and radios. An AMI system allows for better tracking of water system demands in real time to assess the effects of conservation measures and identify where additional conservation may be possible. The system also reduces water waste through early leak detection. The scope of this project was the replacement of 5,000 meters and radios installed between July 2015 and March 2017. City staff installed and programmed the AMI installations, saving more than $200,000 in installation costs. The project is estimated to save approximately 43 acre-feet per year.

  • City of Big Bear Lake Boulevard Pipeline Replacement Project (September 2017) – This project included the replacement of 4,000 linear feet of 12-inch steel pipeline with new 12-inch PVC pipe. Commercial water service lines to 39 businesses were also replaced, as well as two commercial fire services and eight hydrants. Approximately 17 acre-feet per year are expected to be saved through the elimination of leaks associated with the 69 year-old steel pipeline. With reduced pumping demands associated with the leaks, the project is also saving more than 120,000 kWh per year.

  • California Friendly Turf Replacement Incentive Program - Phase 2 Southern California (December 2016) - The California Friendly® Turf Replacement Incentive Program - Phase 2 (Program) transformed 1.07 million square feet of thirsty turf landscapes to California Friendly landscapes with climate-appropriate plants, efficient irrigation, permeable surfaces to allow rainwater infiltration, and mulch to preserve soil moisture. These 1.07 million square feet have included residential and commercial projects throughout Metropolitan's 5,200 square mile service area. The program provided 1,400 acre-feet in lifetime water savings, increased acceptance of non-turf lawns, and continued market transformation. Because a significant portion of Metropolitan's water supplies are imported from the Colorado River and Bay Delta, this program also provided benefits for energy efficiency, critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, and water markets.

  • California Friendly Turf Replacement Incentive Program - Phase 2-A Southern California (December 2016) - The California Friendly® Turf Replacement Incentive Program - Phase 2-A (Program) transformed 1.09 million square feet of thirsty turf landscapes to California Friendly landscapes with climate-appropriate plants, efficient irrigation, permeable surfaces to allow rainwater infiltration, and mulch to preserve soil moisture. These 1.09 million square feet have included residential and commercial projects throughout Metropolitan's 5,200 square mile service area. The program provided 1,422 acre-feet in lifetime water savings, increased acceptance of non-turf lawns, and continued market transformation. Because a significant portion ofMetropolitan's water supplies are imported from the Colorado River and Bay Delta, this program also provided benefits for energy efficiency, critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, and water markets.

  • Landscape Incentive Program (CII) Project Los Angeles, California (December 2016) - Established in 2009, the LADWP’s Commercial/Industrial Drought Resistant Landscape Incentive Program provides financial incentives of $1.00 per square foot of turf removed and replaced with California Friendly landscapes, including mulch and drip water irrigation systems. Funding from this Grant was for converting 3,000,000 square feet total turf, expecting a water savings of 229.34 Acre Foot/Year (AFY). LADWP began implementing the Grant on October 1, 2011, and when the Grant termed out in September 30, 2013, an extension was granted until September 30, 2016. The conditions of the Grant were met with the 7th, semi-annual invoice (10/01/14-03/31/15). 94 Turf projects were completed during the course of the Grant for a total of 3,690,550 square feet of turf converted. Of the 3,690,550 square feet of turf that was removed, 313,413 square feet were completed beyond the requirements of the Grant.

  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure to Enhance Water Use Efficiency and Energy Efficiency (July 2016) - The Advanced Metering Infrastructure to Enhance Water Use Efficiency and Energy Efficiency Project (AMI Project) includes: 1) an upgrade of 20,165 Encoder Radio Transmitter (ERT) devices, which provide for "drive-by" collection of water consumption data, to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Itron 1 OOW Choice Connect Network System that will automatically collect and store hourly consumption data, and 2) deployment of a web-based application (Customer Portal) through which customers can access their accounts to view both real-time flow information and 13 months of historical usage data. The upgrade to a fully automated AMI system leads to wide-ranging efficiency improvements resulting in water savings of 1,344.91 acre-feet per year (AFY), 83,258 AFY of water better managed, 4.9 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year in energy savings, and carbon emissions reductions on the order of 1,728.15 metric tons (MT) per year. Through remote access to historical and real-time consumption data, the District will gain information on peak demand periods, consumption trends, and system leaks, which can then be used to make efficiency improvements including improved efforts pertaining to long-range planning, water management and water conservation, leak detection and repair, on-demand customer service, simplified billing processes, and greatly reduced meter maintenance costs. Furthermore, deployment of a Customer Portal through which water users will have online access to their own real-time hourly water usage data will prompt District customers to make positive changes to their water use behaviors.

  • Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Instant Hot Water Recirculating System Rebate (June 2016) - In an effort to aid customers in reducing their indoor water use, EVMWD sought funding to expand its rebate program to include Instant Hot Water Recirculation Systems. EVMWD believes this rebate program would motivate customers to install this system, and save a potentially significant amount of water throughout the service area. These systems cost approximately $180-$200 at local hardware stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot, and can be installed directly onto an existing traditional water heater by the homeowner or a plumber. The installation of an Instant Hot Water Recirculating System enables hot water to run almost immediately from faucet and shower when needed, dramatically reducing the amount of cold water. According to one manufacturer, an average home has approximately 125 feet of ¾-inch pipe, which holds 3.14 gallons of water. If hot water is used 10 times per day, 31 gallons of water is wasted running the faucets/shower to achieve hot water. In just one year, this equals about 11,461 gallons of water.

  • Online Irrigation Base Schedule Calculator (April 2016) - The Project targets all consumers with automatic irrigation systems, by offering an irrigation base schedule software tool based on the actual, on-site irrigation equipment application (precipitation) rate, plant material, slope sun exposure, and soil type. The Calculator develops customized irrigation base schedules to be entered when programming either conventional or smart irrigation timers. The Calculator can also utilized to provide the information as a monthly schedule. In addition to the water savings attributed to the use of the Calculator as a standalone tool, it can also be utilized to ensure optimum water savings and program success for program such as the Smart Timer Rebate Program and the California Sprinkler Adjustment Notification System (CSANS). Ultimately, this tool will be made available for use by water agencies throughout the state. Based on similar irrigation management projects, approximately 39 gallons per day can be saved through proper irrigation management. Anticipating the Calculator will be used by at least 50 new people per month, the associated water savings goal is 26 acre-feet per year (AFY) or 131 lifetime acre feet (AFL) over the anticipated five-year life. Actual water saving resulted in 31 AFY or 153 AFL.

  • Johnny Carson Park Irrigation Retrofit (April 2016) - The Johnny Carson Park Irrigation Retrofit project will reduce potable water demands by retrofitting the antiquated and inefficient landscape irrigation system, and converting from potable water to 100% recycled water. The project supports the City’s Recycled Water Master Plan and Sustainable Goals.

  • Centralized Irrigation Controllers for Targeted District Schools Final Project Report (March 2016) - The City of Corona Department of Water & Power (DWP) Project included the installation and procurement of centralized weather-based irrigation controllers at five separate elementary school sites selected in the Corona-Norco Unified School District (CNUSD). Installation consisted of state-of-the art, wireless weather-based centralized controllers (also called evapotranspiration or “ET” controllers) to create a centralized network throughout an existing irrigation system. The upgrade to real-time ET controllers allows District staff to access the irrigation system from their personal computers and stop, start, adjust or even alert staff immediately when unusual increases in water flow occur. The ET controllers will automatically shut down the affected line until school (or District) staff can respond to save water, time, and resources. CNUSD is one of the City’s largest water customers; reducing their water consumption will help towards the City achieving its water conservation goals.

  • High Efficiency Clothes Washer Incentive Program (February 2016) - The High Efficiency Clothes Washer Incentive Program (Program) influenced 13,292 residential customers to purchase high-efficiency clothes washers. The Program increased Metropolitan's incentive from $85 to $110 per unit, which reduces the cost barrier for customers between traditional washers and more efficient washers. The Program only funded high-efficiency clothes washers with a water factor of 4.0 or less. Incentives were provided through Metropolitan's regional rebate program, SoCal Water$mart. Based on studies of water savings for high-efficiency clothes washers, the Program provided 6,1 00 acre-feet in lifetime water savings. The Program also provided direct energy savings from the high-efficiency clothes washers. In addition, because a significant portion of Metropolitan's water supplies are imported from the Colorado River and Bay-Delta, this program also provided benefits for energy efficiency, critical habitat for threatened and endangered species, and water markets.

  • Water Efficient Site Certification and Smart Timer Rebate Project (December 2015) - The Water Efficiency Site Certification and Smart Irrigation Rebate Project (Project) provides rebates for the installation of residential water efficiency improvements in over 700 households, including advance irrigation timers and rotating nozzles. The Project also provided single family sites with indoor and outdoor audits to identify the importance of installing water savings deceives and other water saving improvements. As a goal, the Project was to facilitate the installation of 576 residential smart timers and 23,400 rotating nozzles with installation verification. Additionally, the Project used a Site Water Use Audit Project format to perform up to 1,000 comprehensive residential audits. The single-family indoor and outdoor audits identified the areas of the property where water based improvements could be made, and as part of the audit any applicable rebates for improvements was recommended.

  • CII Performance-Based Water Use Efficiency Program (December 2015) - The Commercial/Institutional/Industrial (CII) Performance-Based Water Use Efficiency Program (Program) was developed by the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) to offer Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional (CII) and Large Landscape Turf Removal (LL) sites with incentives in the form of rebates to assist in the reduction of water use. The projects utilized a comprehensive process approach for the oneto-one replacement of high water using devices for water efficient devices. At LL sites, comprehensive landscape projects may include any combination of the following components: the replacement of non-functional turfgrass with climate-appropriate, non-invasive, California-Friendly landscapes or permeable surfaces, conversion of high-water-using spray heads to rotating nozzles, upgrade of conventional irrigation timers to smart timers, and irrigation management services. For CII device replacement the Program facilitated rebates by utilizing Metropolitans southern California Regional rebate Program and for LL project incentives were facilitated by MWDOC’s Turf Removal Program. Through a combined effort across all Program sectors the water savings goal is 113 acre-feet-per year (AFY).

  • 2011 Innovative Conservation Program Final Project Report (December 2015) - In 2008, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) signed an agreement (08FG350247) with the United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) for the Innovative Conservation Program (ICP) for $228,000. This agreement was amended several times in the subsequent years, including change of agreement number to the current R08AP35247 and increase of Reclamation funds to $248,000. The ICP provided grant funding to explore the water and energy savings potential and practicality of innovative water conservation technologies. Through this agreement, seven (7) research projects were completed totaling almost $384,500 of combined funding from Metropolitan and Reclamation. Some of the funding provided through this agreement was also used to fund projects on the subsequent 2013 ICP. Each project submitted a Final Report that includes information on project design and accomplishments including water and energy efficiency/savings.

  • Santa Ana River Watershed LiDAR/Infrared Imagery Landscape Mapping Demonstration Project (November 2015) - The purpose of the project was to demonstrate the use of color orthophotography and LiDAR for identification of areas of irrigated plant types and locations. The identification occurs by matching color cells from the color orthophotography and the height from the LiDAR data. LiDAR creates a contour map including the buildings and plants. There were three areas of study to determine the feasibility of identifying irrigated landscapes. Each area was located in the Santa Ana Watershed and represented urban, mixed use, and predominately agriculture land use. This improves water use efficiency by providing an accurate ground picture of irrigated land when applying tiered water rates. Irrigation of landscaping within the Santa Ana Watershed accounts for approximately 70% of the water delivered to the average customer.

  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure Final Project Report (August 2015) - The City of Corona Department of Water & Power proposed to convert outdated water meters into "smart" meters with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technology capabilities. The final project encompassed a total of 1,311 new meters and existing meters retrofitted with the AMI technology. A total of 1,213 meters were either replaced or retrofitted within the Eagle Glen area. Replaced meters located within the Eagle Glen area are now able to be read via data collectors, with remaining meters retrofitted for real-time data for a system water balance check to this area. The balance of 98 AMI meters were placed elsewhere throughout the City, in difficult to access areas that were completely inaccessible by meter readers, previously resulting in estimated readings. These can now be read using in-house data collection software on a regular basis. The project expands the City's current water conservation efforts by utilizing advanced technology advancements in metering infrastructure as a cost-effective means of improving operational efficiencies, provides accurate meter reading data for maximum revenue optimization, and aids as a tool in identifying potential waste location of a precious resource, water.

  • Conservation Potential of Salinity Mitigation Strategies (June 2015) - The URS Corporation and its subconsultants, PlanTierra and Harvey Economics, were retained by the National Water Research Institute to conduct an extensive literature review in order to: 1) estimate the water savings that may be realized when salinity levels are reduced, specifically for large landscape irrigation applications and in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors where water softeners and reverse osmosis devices are being utilized; 2) estimate the associated dollar savings when salinity levels are reduced; and 3) identify potential cost effective water saving approaches and future studies. The information contained within this study may be adapted for any area; however, the focus was on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s service area.

  • Appendix A

  • Stormwater Basin Enhancement Project (July 2015) - The stormwater from the City of Torrance that requires treatment mostly comes from the watershed area that is tributary to the Amie, Henrietta and Entradero stormwater detention basins. The Stormwater Basin Enhancement Project provided the following: 1) Amie Basin: passive wetland treatment, native habitat restoration and additional stormwater infiltration; 2) Henrietta Basin: passive wetland treatment, additional stormwater infiltration and habitat restoration, access pathways and educational opportunities; and 3) Entradero Basin: additional infiltration, habitat restoration and improved public access without affecting the existing park and baseball activities and retrofit of existing park irrigation to recycled water.

  • Turner Basin Recharge Improvements Project (July 2015) - The project is part of an integrated strategy to increase local water supplies and minimize purchases of water from the Bay-Delta. Existing facilities at the Turner Basin recharge site were expanded and improved to more efficiently be able to capture and recharge local rainfall runoff and recycled water. The water savings was expected to be 2,400 acre feet per year (afy) as a long-term average of 20 years or more. The water will be recharged into the Chino Basin groundwater aquifer and managed for conjunctive use. Conjunctive use provides flexibility to manage and minimize imported surface water supplies by “banking” water in the subsurface or otherwise drawing on groundwater supplies to offset surface deliveries.

  • Weather- and Soil Moisture-Based Landscape Irrigation Scheduling Devices (August 2018) - Since 2004, Reclamation has maintained a report on weather and soil moisture-based landscape irrigation controllers (smartcontroller). To be considered a smartcontroller, an irrigation scheduling device must automatically schedule/adjust irrigation as a function of weather (ET) or soil-moisture conditions. The purpose of the report is to: provide some technical background on how a smartcontroller functions; summarize smartcontroller certification and testing processes; and present an unbiased overview of available products. Though many will find the content compelling, water agencies developing a smartcontroller incentivization program might find the report particularly useful. This sixth edition of the report includes information on smart irrigation controller products from 24 companies.

  • Elmer Paseo Stormwater Improvements Project (May 2015) - Through this project, also known as the Green Alleyway Landscape Retrofit for Water Conservation project, the Council for Watershed Health successfully revitalized a paved alleyway used for stormwater conveyance by converting it to a green space with bioswales, pervious walkway, native plants, green walls, solar-powered drip irrigation, monitoring equipment, and interpretive signs. The project is now a natively-planted pocket-park in a park-poor low-income community in Los Angeles that captures dry weather and wet weather flow for infiltration to the San Fernando Groundwater Basin. High flows pass through the Paseo bioswales, but do receive treatment by green infrastructure that diminishes pollutant loading. The native plants draw local pollinators and provide respite for the neighborhood. Interpretive signage provides educational information and monitoring for the project. Tour groups from professional and government groups, as well as classes of students, are regular visitors to learn the benefits of green infrastructure retrofits for water conservation. The Elmer Paseo is engineered to capture all dry-weather flow from 7 acres of residential land, and up to 6 acre-feet of storm water during an average rainfall year.

  • Industrial Process Expansion (March 2015) - The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) developed a program to help industrial businesses reduce their water use and associated wastewater flows. The Industrial Process Water Use Reduction Program provides businesses in the Food Processing, Textile Manufacturing, Metal Plating, and Electronics Manufacturing industries (sectors with the largest potential for water savings) with engineering surveys to identify water saving process improvements and offers financial incentives to help implement recommended changes. Survey participants received customized Survey Reports that summarized recommended retrofits and changes to operating practices that will result in significant water savings. Estimated costs, savings and payback information were also included, along with "next steps" on how to implement the recommended improvements. Incentive payments from The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and MWDOC were offered to companies successfully implementing long-term process improvements. The Industrial Process Expansion project continued the efforts of this program to include three additional comprehensive surveys, five additional MWDOC incentives, and engineering assistance to implement process changes for two companies. The overall water savings project goal was 377 acre feet of water per year.

  • Industrial Process Expansion (March 2015) - The OC Smart Irrigation Timer Rebate Program was developed by the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) to offer residential and commercial sites rebate incentives to encourage irrigation controller device retrofits. Weather-based irrigation controllers (commonly referred to as Smart Timers) were targeted for this program because of their significant potential for water savings. To implement this project, MWDOC employed a rebate-format implementation process that included marketing/promotion; participation guidelines and procedures to add this project into the regional rebate administrator process; development of customer service protocols; project data compiling; device installation verification; a water savings evaluation; quarterly and final reporting; and quality control procedures. MWDOC's goals were to install 475 residential timers and 800 commercial timers, with an overall project water savings goal of 560 acre-feet of water per year over a 10-year term. From project launch in September 2011 through the end of September 2014, a total of 2,072 residential timers and 1,803 commercial timers were installed, yielding a potential water savings of 783 acre-feet of water per year. The implementation rates far exceeded the project goals by 436% for residential timers and 225% for commercial timers. Over the same time period, 400 residential and 100 commercial post-installation inspections were performed, exceeding the goals by 540% and 217% respectively. Based on the results of an associated impact evaluation, the water savings under this program is estimated at 59 gallons per day per residential site and 320 gallons per day per commercial site, or 783 acre-feet per year of overall savings.

  • Residential Irrigation Efficiency Implementation Program and Enhanced Agricultural Irrigation Efficiency Program (December 2014) - The Rancho California Water District conducted two programs within the City of Temecula, and in portions of the City of Murrieta and southwest Riverside County. The Residential program was designed to encourage 500 high water users to participate in a cost-effective program to reduce their water consumption. Despite limited participation (possibly due to the launch of the program during low water use months), those who participated in the program benefited from the onsite irrigation audits that allowed them to identify potential irrigation upgrades, which included upgrading of the irrigation controller to a Smart Weather Based unit, realignment of irrigation spray heads, and the replacement of more efficient nozzles. The Agricultural program expanded the assistance provided to local farmers through an existing ag efficiency program by installing weather stations and soil moisture sensors at avocado farms in the District's service area, providing the farmers with more data to help make more informed irrigation scheduling decisions..

  • California Sprinkler Adjustment Notification System (December 2014) - The Municipal Water District of Orange County developed the California Sprinkler Adjustment Notification System (CSANS) allows property owners to turn their 'dumb' irrigation timers into smart timers at no cost. A system widget alllows customers to register to receive regular e-mails from their water provider containing the updated irrigation factor specific to the weather at their geographic locations. The factor is used to make global irrigation scheduling adjustments on irrigation timers that have a percent adjustment feature. In addition to the irrigation adjustment factor, water agencies can customize these emails to include agency-specific information, such as seasonally appropriate gardening suggestions, rebate program information, water supply updates, etc.

  • West Basin Metropolitan Water District Water Efficient Equipment Installation Program(September 2014) - West Basin's Commercial, Industrial, Institutional (CII) Incentive Program implemented water efficiency measures within the CII sector, targeting businesses and institutions in the District's service area that have facilities with cooling towers or those industries using water for manufacturing of products and/or services (i.e., oil refining, mining and metal plating, processing/dying/laundering of textiles, food and beverage production). West Basin provided technical assistance to identify solutions to use water more efficiently. The project aims to conserve water and energy by retrofitting existing CII sites with more water and energy efficient equipmen to help West Basin’s water retailers meet the goals and objectives of the California Urban Water Conservation Council’s CII Best Management Practices.

  • City of Corona Department of Water & Power Water Use Efficiency Master Plan Final Project Report (September 2014) - The City of Corona developed this Water Use Efficiency Master Plan to identify the largest water consumers in the City and create strategies to improve their efficiency. It identifies cost-effective and innovative capital improvement projects that would help conserve water including increasing reclaimed water use and groundwater recharge, and updating inefficient and outdated infrastructure. One of the most important objectives of the Project was to pave the way to identify and prioritize water conservation projects that, when implemented in full, would help the City achieve their 20% by 2020 State mandated target. This document will be used as a planning tool and illustrates that water conservation efforts by the City are a feasible and cost-effective means of assuring adequate future water supplies.

  • The Influence of Conservation Pricing and Other Non-price Factors on Residential Water Demand (May 2014) - Water conservation, including conservation pricing, is a demand side approach to water management that can help avoid the costs associated with water supply expansion or can be implemented in areas that do not have a financially viable supply side option. This report evaluates the effectiveness of conservation pricing, specifically the use of an increasing block rate pricing structure, in reducing municipal and industrial water demand. Different types of increasing block rate structures would be expected to have varying levels of effectiveness in reducing water demand. This research evaluates the influence of various marginal water prices on the quantity of water demanded and the most appropriate rate structure for meeting water conservation goals. 

  • City of Anaheim Water Use Efficiency Master Planning Grant Report (April 2014) - Anaheim's Water Use Efficiency Master Plan builds upon existing water conservation program achievements to help reach the City's goal of a 20 percent reduction in urban per capita water use by 2020. The Master Plan identifies potential conservation program concepts for specific customer sectors (i.e. residential, commercial, industrial and landscape-irrigation) and recommends a viable program mix with several implementation options focusing on landscape efficiency and innovative water use efficiency projects. The estimated water savings is projected to be 23 gallons/capita/day once the Master Plan is implemented. 

  • Perris Water Filtration Plant Reject Recovery Project (April 2014) - The Perris Water Filtration Plant routinely discharges a reject flow of 1.0 mgd at capacity. This reject flow is discharged to the sewer and processed at EMWD Perris Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility. The new Reject Recovery Facility diverts the reject stream from the sewer and treats the flow using low pressure membrane filtration. At capacity, approximately 0.85 mgd is returned to the Filtration Plant and 0.15 mgd is discharged to the sewer, resulting in a decrease in imported raw water and reduced flows to the wastewater treatment plant. This also results in substantial operations, maintenance, and energy savings.

  • Conservation Market Study Final Project Report (March 2014) - Under this project, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s water conservation programs were reviewed. The Large Landscape Saturation Survey collected Geographic Information System (GIS) data on the location of past conservation programs, large landscapes, and recycled water systems. Results from the saturation survey will be used to guide future conservation programs at Metropolitan. The second project is a Multiple Strategy Document that reviews conservation strategies utilized within Metropolitan’s service area. (Both documents are included as appendices to this report.)

  • Landscape Water Use Efficiency Research Project (October 2013) - Under this project, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California conducted water savings analysis for smart controllers that have been installed for more than four years using regional data, and identified water savings opportunities by surveying conditions for landscape water use behaviors and use of irrigation devices within Metropolitan’s service area.

  • California Friendly Turf Replacement Incentive Program (September 2013) - This project transformed more than 2 million square-feet of irrigated turf to California Friendly landscapes with climate-appropriate plants, efficient irrigation, permeable surfaces to allow rainwater infiltration, and mulch to preserve soil moisture. These lands have included residential and commercial projects throughout The Metropolitan's Water District of Southern California's 5,200 square-mile service area. The program provided 5,796 acre-feet in lifetime water savings, increased acceptance of non-turf lawns, and began a market transformation.

  • Distribution Water System Audit and Component Analysis (September 2013) - This study examines the efficiency of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's water distribution system, evaluating real and apparent losses. The project is expected to save up to 12,600 acre-feet per year. 

  • Mesa Water District Water Use Efficiency Benchmarking Study and Plan Final Project Report(January 2014), Water Use Efficiency Plan (October 2013), and Analysis of Water Use Efficiency Metrics and Benchmarking (March 2013) - The Mesa Water District serves over 110,000 customers throughout Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and unincorporated parts of Orange County. The Water Use Efficiency (WUE) Plan recommends a portfolio of WUE programs that can feasibly be implemented with a water cost of $198 per acre-foot. The Benchmark Analysis proposes up to three alternative measures to help benchmark performance in the future.

  • Water Efficient Guidelines for New Development (July 2013) - This offers a set of voluntary guidelines for new development in the Eastern Municipal Water District service area that, if implemented, will reduce overall water use in new buildings beyond what is currently required by state and local codes and requirements. The focus of the guidebook is on incentive-driven, cost-effective, voluntary water efficiency measures for new residential development. 

  • Orange County Water Use Efficiency Master Plan (June 2013) - This plan was developed by the Municipal Water District of Orange County in coordination with its member agencies to help reach mandated water use reductions by 2020. It creates a strategy to meet specific reduction targets and offers customized tools to track performance and adapt to changing circumstances.

  • High Efficiency Clothes Washer Direct Install Program Final Project Report (June 2013) - This program reduced demand for imported water by retrofitting pre-2004 clothes washers with high efficiency clothes washers (HECW). Eastern Municipal Water District, in partnership with the Southern California Gas Company, successfully retrofitted 1,700 washers that use an average of 42 gallons or more per 3-cubic-foot load of clothes with HECWs that use a maximum of 12 gallons for the same size load. With an estimated lifespan of 14 years, the total water savings for the program is 809 acre-feet. 

  • West Basin Municipal Water District Complete Restroom Retrofit Final Report (June 2013) - Demonstrates the water savings gained from installing more than 1,000 high efficiency fixtures in commercial, industrial and institutional facilities throughout the West Basin service area.

  • Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Water Use Efficiency Master Plan (July 2012) - Creates a strategy to meet water demand reduction targets and delivers customized tools required to track performance and to adapt to changing circumstances.

  • West Basin Municipal Water District Water Efficiency Master Plan - 2011-2015 and 2015 Master Plan Highlights (2011) - Provides information on water efficiency accomplishments between 2005-2010 and shows how West Basin plans to build on those successes.

  • Analysis of Selected Potential Water Conservation Technologies and Equipment (October 2011) - Analyzes selected technologies for improved long-term irrigation efficiencies. 

  • Public School Retrofit Program, Riverside County, Final Report (December 2011) - Describes the very successful results of a program that was launched to save water in local public schools through the installation of water-efficient devices. 

  • Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company Water Conservation Technical Assistance White Paper (December 2010) - Describes techniques used by Reclamation to provide technical expertise for water conservation efforts by the Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, a member of the Mojave Water Agency, to help reduce overall water consumption within the city. 

  • Municipal Water District of Orange County Water Loss Management Program Assessment (December 2010) - Provides the results of a study conducted between 2008 and 2010 to research accountable management of water supplies, performed through water utility supply and demand auditing and the implementation of appropriate and cost-effective water loss control techniques. 
    Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E Appendix F

  • California Friendly Landscape Pilot Rebate Program for New Homes and Groundwater Infiltration Using Porous Concrete Pilot Rebate Program (Sept 2010) - Provides the results of a program that ended on June 30, 2010 with ten builders and 226 homes participating. The target for California Friendly landscaping was exceeded with over 392,000 square feet of water efficient landscaping installed. 

  • Water and Energy Efficiency Program for Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Customer Classes in SoCal (April 2009) - Provides the results of a 2007 study among energy utilities, water districts, wastewater sanitation districts, and state and local agencies to research the potential for integrated water and energy efficiency programs. 

  • Urban Drought Guidebook (2008) - Offers information and examples of successful efforts to conserve water resources by suppliers throughout California, and is intended to assist water managers facing the challenge of water shortages by employing tried-and-true methods of the past as well as making use of new tools and methods now available.

  • Coordinating Government Programs and Policies to Advance Water Use Efficiency in California (Dec 2006) - Identifies the many government programs that are available in Calfornia aimed at improving water resource efficiency. 

  • Additional publications can be found on Reclamation's water conservation website.

Need More Information?

If you have any water resources questions, need technical assistance, or want to learn more about water conservation in Southern California, contact Deb Whitney, Water Conservation Specialist, at or by phone at: (951) 695-5310.

Last Updated: 9/11/18