Water Conservation


Saving Water is the Best Way to Deal With Drought and Preserve Water Supplies

The Governor's January Drought Emergency Declaration remains in effect in 2015 and includes a voluntary water conservation goal of 20 percent. The District supports water conservation for both environmental and economic reasons. Water conservation is the easiest, most efficient and least expensive means of dealing with the drought. Every drop of water you save is a purchase you don’t need to make. Every drop of water you save is water that remains in our wells. Every drop of water you save is water we don't need to import or recycle.

Water Conservation means different things to different people. For some, it means equipment or processes, such as water timers or water-efficient appliances. For others, it means human behavior, such as the length of our showers, whether we install water efficient appliances, if we leave the faucet running while we brush our teeth, or if we use a hose, rather than a broom, to clean our driveways.

The Water District supports water conservation in many ways: public education, school programs, grants for water-efficient materials and equipment, pilot/demonstration projects, rebate programs and our H2Owl mascot program. A major section of our website is devoted to water conservation at

Water Conservation FAQs

The Governor and many local jurisdictions are presently calling for voluntary reductions of water use by 20%. That’s doable in the San Gabriel Valley, which has reduced consumption by 15% in recent years. For some people saving water is their motivation, for others it’s saving money, saving energy or being a good environmental steward. The math is simple: every drop saved is a drop we don’t need to import, recycle or obtain in other costly ways.

Water conservation may be achieved by behavior change (shorter showers, fix leaky faucets, etc.), by technology and equipment (water-efficient washers and toilets, irrigation timers, cisterns, etc.) and water-wise plants and landscaping (California Native Plants, rock gardens, etc.). A good rule of thumb is that about 70% of residential water use occurs outside, so focusing on irrigation systems, hose nozzles, pool covers, and such is very efficient.

Water audits are often provided by your local utility to help you gauge where you can save water most easily. The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has produced water saving tips in English, Chinese and Spanish for residents and businesses. In addition, we have produced a variety of educational videos to help you understand and practice water conservation.
Water-wise plants and landscaping are among the smartest and most effective means of reducing outdoor water use. Over many decades, as people have relocated to southern California and the San Gabriel Valley from other parts of the country, they have tended to landscape like they did back home. The reality is we live in an arid desert and we use more water than Mother Nature provides. Fortunately, for those with a certain aesthetic and those who love to garden, there are plants that are “native” to southern California and the San Gabriel Valley. They will survive in our warm, dry climate, they are attractive, they use less water and they are readily available.

Different terms to describe such vegetation include “California Native Plants”, water-efficient plants and drought-tolerant plants. Water-efficient landscaping may also include rock gardens, boulders, benches, synthetic turf and other decorative elements that use no water at all. The San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District enjoys a good working relationship with the Theodore Payne Foundation, a great resource for California Native plants and information.

Further information can be found on the water-wise gardens and landscaping page.
Beginning in 2010, the District began offering grants for water conservation pilot projects to cities, schools and large employers. As “demonstration” projects, our pilot projects take place in highly visible community locations that are easy to visit and learn from.

Our grants fund equipment, technology, landscaping and vegetation and may promote indoor and outdoor water savings. An added objective of each grant is to foster community partnerships that involve people working together. Projects at schools and youth or community facilities typically involve youth, teachers, parents, local businesses, local non-profits, churches and school clubs.

Case studies can be viewed at the District’s Water Conservation Pilot Projects page.
The District’s Board of Directors has two principles related to its water conservation programs. One is to work with children because it produces a “two-fer” by also involving or educating their parents or family members. Another principle is “learning by doing,” whereby physical activity at home, at parks, at libraries, at schools and at youth/community centers “involves” people in experiential programming. For more information about the District’s “Home Water Survey” and “Water Quest” program for schools, visit our Water Quest page.

The District created a legend several years ago to serve as its water conservation “guru”. H2Owl has become synonymous with water conservation throughout the San Gabriel Valley and is known to tens of thousands of people due to its frequent visits to schools, parks, libraries and community events. To learn more about H2Owl or how to have the mascot attend your location or event, please visit our H2Owl Program page.
The District’s water-efficient washing machine rebate program was launched in January 2014. Residents of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre are eligible for a $150 rebate on designated washing machines. The District encourages residents to support local businesses for their washer purchases. Read about or apply for such a rebate on our Water Efficient Washer Rebate page.
The District’s smart irrigation controller rebate program was launched in mid-2014. Residents of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre are eligible for up to a $150 rebate on designated smart irrigation controllers. Read about or apply for such a rebate on our Smart Irrigation Controller Rebate page.
The District’s commercial waterless urinal rebate program was launched in mid-2014 and is the first rebate program offered to local businesses in the District’s service area of Alhambra, Azusa, Monterey Park and Sierra Madre. Commercial accounts are eligible for up to a $150 rebate per urinal (up to 20 urinals per commercial account). Read about or apply for such a rebate on our Waterless Urinal Rebate page.
Since 2000, the District has offered a High Efficiency Toilet Exchange program for many years in its member cities. This program enables residents to turn in their older, high volume toilets for new, low volume toilets. The District offers this program in the spring of each year and partners with local schools and youth organizations who provide labor support in exchange for financial support to their school/organization.

More than 16,000 toilets (each of which reduces water use by as much as 75%) have been exchanged over the years, and more than $250,000 has been donated to local youth and school groups.
To obtain information about rebate programs offered by cities in the District’s service area, as well as local water conservation programs and water use guidelines provided by cities in the District’s service area, please visit their websites:
The serious drought has led many organizations to update their information related to the drought and water conservation. Two of the best websites are: (operated by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California) and (operated by the Association of California Water Agencies). Further information about water conservation may be found by linking to other websites featured on the SGVMWD Public Education page.

For additional information, please contact the San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District by calling us at (626) 969-7911 or emailing us at