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Frequently Asked Questions

General Water Conservation Questions

Does the City offer any rebates on water-efficient products?
Yes, there are several rebates available for Burlingame residents, including high-efficiency toilets and lawn conversion programs. Visit our Conservation Programs page to learn more! In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense Products Program offers information about various water-saving devices including recommended water-efficient products. 
What can I do to save water inside and outside my home?

The State's Save our Water website, available in English and Spanish, provides helpful water conservation information, including lists of the little changes you can make in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room that collectively add up to a lot of water savings. The site also includes video testimonials by real people taking real action to save water. A tour through the H2O House can help you assess the water saving opportunities in each area of your home. Also, the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency offers Landscape Education classes to learn how to serve water in your yard. 

Furthermore, the Water Use it Wisely website has 100 water conservation tips to start following today! Finally, the Water Education Foundation provides various resources, including a comprehensive water news page, a water encyclopedia and even water tours to give you a 'first-hand look' at our State's water resources.

How can I teach my kids about water conservation?
Here are some great web resources to teach kids about the importance of water conservation:
I want to save water, but my family has a pool and still wants to enjoy it. Is there anything I can do to conserve water?
Yes, the City recommends that you keep a cover on your pool to prevent evaporation when it is not in use and regularly maintain pool equipment. For other guidance, review these tips.
I want to save water with my landscaping but don't know how to start. Where can I find help?
Here are some resources to help you get started with saving water in your garden:
How can I report a water leak or water overuse?
If you have or witness a potential leak or water overuse situation, please contact us on our Water Conservation Hotline at 650-558-7612 or email us at WaterConservation@burlingame.org.
Why does the City flush water pipes?
Flushing ensures that the City's water quality is maintained at its optimal level and our drinking water distribution system meets requirements mandated by drinking water State regulations. Flushing is also used to ensure the distribution system is operating properly and can provide adequate flow for fire protection. The Water Division is committed to doing everything possible to investigate secondary uses for the discharged water. For more information about water pipeline flushing, click here.
Does the City have permanent water use restrictions?
Yes. The City has a new Wasteful Water Use Restrictions ordinance which targets and prohibits wasteful water use actions. The following uses of potable water are prohibited at all times:
  • Use of a hose without a positive shut-off nozzle.
  • Use of water for cleaning, filling, or operating non-recirculating, decorative water fountains.
  • Use of water to irrigate outdoor plants, lawn, grass, landscaping or turf areas during and within 24 hours after measurable rainfall.
  • Use of broken or defective plumbing, sprinkler, watering, or irrigation systems.
  • Use in new, added, or altered car wash equipment unless a recirculating water system is incorporated.
  • To promote conservation, hotels and motels shall provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and display notice of this option in guestrooms.

Drought Questions

What is a drought?

The United States Geological Survey defines a drought as a "period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. When rainfall is less than normal for several weeks, months or years, the flow of streams and rivers declines, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought." 

What are the latest water use restrictions?

On July 8, 2021, Governor Newsom added nine counties (including San Mateo County) to the regional drought state of emergency and called on Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15% compared to their 2020 water consumption. Read more about this announcement here.

Additionally, the City has a new Wasteful Water Use Restrictions ordinance which targets and prohibits wasteful water use actions. The following uses of potable water are prohibited at all times:

  • Use of a hose without a positive shut-off nozzle.
  • Use of water for cleaning, filling, or operating non-recirculating, decorative water fountains.
  • Use of water to irrigate outdoor plants, lawn, grass, landscaping or turf areas during and within 24 hours after measurable rainfall.
  • Use of broken or defective plumbing, sprinkler, watering, or irrigation systems.
  • Use in new, added, or altered car wash equipment unless a recirculating water system is incorporated.
  • To promote conservation, hotels and motels shall provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and display notice of this option in guestrooms.
Is there an exemption to the prohibitions to protect public health and safety?
Yes. The SWRCB states that the prohibitions apply "except where necessary to address an immediate health and safety need or to comply with a term or condition in a permit issued by a State or federal agency." The regulations do not include a specific definition of what constitutes an immediate health and safety need, but generally speaking, a health and safety exception should be applied in good faith where a reasonable person would conclude that the application of water is necessary to address public health and safety. Pressure washing a sidewalk or driveway for aesthetic purposes, for example, is not a health and safety need."