Posted on: June 29, 2015

CVWD’s new drought penalties will go into effect in July

CV Saving 36

To help meet the 36 percent water savings requirement from the state during this historic drought, the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) Board of Directors approved drought penalties that will be reflected in customers' July domestic water bills. Penalties are expected to affect about 45 percent of the district's more inefficient water users.

"California is facing a historic drought," said CVWD General Manager Jim Barrett. "Even though our water supply here in the Coachella Valley is secure thanks to years of responsible management of the groundwater basin, the district must answer the state's call to conserve, which will ultimately improve our own long-term sustainability."

CVWD incorporated the drought penalties into the existing water budget-based tiered rate structure. All domestic customers are being asked to limit water use to 36 percent below their outdoor (tier 2) water budget. This approach rewards more than half of the customers who have already taken steps to reduce water use and only affects the more inefficient water users.

Customers who want to determine if they will be penalized can visit and use a copy of their previous water bill and the Drought Penalty Calculator to estimate any penalties.  The district's drought penalties are scheduled to expire when the state rescinds the conservation mandates. If CVWD customers don't achieve 36 percent savings the district may face fines up to $10,000 per day.

The drought penalties are structured as follows:

Water use in Tier 1
Water use in Tier 2, up to 64%
Water use in Tier 2 above 64%
Water use in Tier 3
Water use in Tier 4
Water use in Tier 5
No penalty
No penalty
regular rate +$2.51/unit
regular rate +$3.34/unit
regular rate +$5.01/unit
regular rate +$10.03/unit

I encourage CVWD customers who need assistance reducing their water use to take advantage of one or more of our many rebate and incentive programs. We also have several resources on our website, including conservation tips and a desert-friendly plant database," Barrett said. Go to for a complete list of conservation programs and resources.

Statewide mandatory water-use restrictions are also in effect, including prohibiting water runoff and irrigation during and 48 hours following rain. In addition to what the state is requiring, CVWD is also making all restrictions applicable to all sources of water, not just potable water, and is requiring sprinklers to be fixed within 24 hours and leaks to be fixed as soon as possible. Overseeding will be strongly discouraged this fall.

Unlike other agencies, CVWD is not restricting the days of the week that customers can water their landscaping. However, customers are encouraged to irrigate early in the morning or after the sun has gone down. The district has taken this approach to give customers flexibility in determining how they limit their water use to meet the decreased drought water budget. Call (888) 398-5008 to report a suspected violation and staff will investigate. 

Visit for a full list of CVWD's water-use restrictions and more information about drought penalties.

The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties. For more information, please visit

News Release Contacts
Heather Engel,, Ext. 2353
Diane Carmony,, Ext. 2315

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