California water crisis


TEN MINUTES per irrigation station





  • Trees and other permanent non-turf plantings for erosion control and fire protection are exempt from the one-day limitation.
  • Drip systems, hand watering, and alternative irrigation are restricted to trees and permanent non-turf plantings.
  • Pools/spas are not restricted by this declaration.
  • Non-potable and recycled water is not affected by this restriction.
  • Parks, schools, other spaces used for recreation, civic, and community events are exempt but expected to reduce 30 percent from 2020 use.
  • Potable agricultural customers are likewise exempt, but asked to reduce 20 percent from 2020 use.


The rain and snow in December were not enough to fill regional storage and a web of state-level policies limits the amount of imported water that can flow out of the Delta. As a result, our imported water suppliers—the Department of Water Resources, Metropolitan Water District, and Calleguas Municipal Water District—do not have sufficient supplies to meet regular demands through the rest of the year.

In April, Metropolitan and Calleguas issued Emergency Water Conservation Programs requiring their retailers to go to one-day-a-week watering for potable outdoor irrigation on “non-essential” turf, which means homes and commercial, industrial, and institutional parcels.

On May 26, the Camrosa Board of Directors declared a Stage Two Water Supply Shortage, modifying the standard regulation in Camrosa’s Ordinance 40 to pass through the one-day-a-week outdoor watering limitation from our suppliers. Metropolitan deemed this level of response insufficient. In order to remain compliant and avoid fines from Metropolitan, on June 23, 2022, Camrosa moved to a Stage Three.

“Functional” turf—that is, ballfields, parks, and other spaces used for civic and community events—is exempt from the one-day limitation but such customers are expected to reduce 30 percent from 2020. Potable agricultural customers are likewise exempt, but asked to reduce 20 percent from 2020 numbers.

Camrosa recognizes the importance of the urban canopy and the utility of other non-turf permanent plantings in protecting against erosion and fire, and we encourage you to do what is required to keep that vegetation alive—while, as always, maximizing efficiency. Drip irrigation, hand watering, and other high-efficiency alternatives to spray irrigation for trees and other non-turf permanent plantings are encouraged.

HOA watering schedules should be determined by the customer address the HOA has on file with the District.

More information will be shared with customers in the coming days. This website will be your go-to place for all things drought-related as we head into another dry summer.


*SATURDAYS 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

(*CLOSED during inclement weather or bad road conditions on Gerry Rd.)

With drought restrictions in place, as we head into the summer months, Camrosa is offering a FREE nonpotable water filling stations. Camrosa customers can swing by the Rosita Pump Station at the intersection of Gerry Road and Rosita Road, about half a mile north of Santa Rosa Road in the Santa Rosa Valley. Bring a spill- and leak-proof container between 50 and 300 gallons and a copy of your Camrosa bill, and one of our operators will fill up your container for free.


Nonpotable water is diverted from the Conejo Creek (see our Water Systems page for more information) and may contain some groundwater, both of which are unfiltered and untreated. Camrosa does not guarantee the quality of the non-potable irrigation water. It is by definition non-potable, not suitable for human or livestock consumption.

Remember also that water is heavy! One gallon is about 8.3 POUNDS, so plan ahead about how you’re going to get the water back out of the container we fill up for you. If you’re filling up closer the 300-gallon maximum, make sure your vehicle can handle an extra 2,000+ pounds and be especially careful driving back.

If you need more than 300 gallons at a time, contact the office at 805.388.0226 to make arrangements.

How Did We Get Here?

Drought is nothing new to California.

Cycles of hydrologic scarcity are a feature of our state, as is the fact that most of us want to live where there’s the least amount of rain. This realization drove the construction of the large water projects of the 20th Century. The State and Federal Water Projects, the Los Angeles Aqueduct, and the Colorado River Aqueduct were all built to “move the rain” from mountainous regions of the West, where it is stored as snow, to farmers, homes, and businesses in the Central Valley and Southern California, where people flocked after the Second World War. The cities of Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, and Thousand Oaks were all incorporated only after State Water Project contracts were signed and city founders knew there would be a reliable source of water to grow on.

For four decades, it was reliable. As much Sierra snowmelt as we could use made its way through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, down the California Aqueduct, over the Tehachapis, and out to us, via Metropolitan and Calleguas Municipal Water Districts. There were droughts then, too, of course, but the system had storage to carry us through these dry spells. And as the population grew, we built more—in the 1980s and 1990s, the region invested over $5 billion in surface storage to prolong our ability to continue serving water in a drought.

In the first decade of the 21st Century, two major shifts began to threaten that ability. Changes in the climate started to reduce the amount of snow that accumulates in some years and a series of regulatory actions and judicial rulings slashed the amount of snowmelt that we were allowed to move south. Department of Water Resources releases have averaged less than half of contracted amounts over the last 15 years. There hasn’t been a 100-percent allocation since before the infamous Judge Wanger ruling on Delta smelt in 2006. This is not for lack of snow: despite a banner year in 2017 of 183 percent of normal, DWR was only able to fulfill 85 percent of its contracts. This year, for the second year in a row, we’re only receiving five percent—a first since the project was constructed in the 1960s.

Things are dire. It will be a dry summer. The District—and the region—need your help to get through it.

But things shouldn’t be this way.

What Have We Been Doing?

The Camrosa Water District Board of Directors saw, after the major drought of the 1980s, that relying on precipitation to solve our drought problem was a losing proposition. They realized earlier than most that conservation costs money and determined that it should be only an option of last resort, a tool to be used in a time of crisis—like today—but not a lifestyle.

To make that happen, we needed to control our water resources, and in the 1990s, the District stepped up its development of local supplies to wean us off of imported water. Camrosa is fortunately situated geographically: we overlie three groundwater basins and sit along the watercourse that drains the Conejo Valley—which, since the 1960s, has been a perennial stream, thanks to the discharge from the City of Thousand Oaks’ wastewater treatment plant. But it took the foresight of District leadership to make the investments to turn those natural resources into dependable alternatives to imported water.

You can read about these alternatives on our Water Systems page, but the long story short is that we’ve made great strides: in 1997, the District imported 87 percent of the water it produced; in 2018, that number had shrunk to 25, thanks in large part to the Conejo Creek Diversion Project and the Round Mountain Water Treatment Plant, our one-million-gallon-a-day brackish groundwater desalination facility.

Since then, we’ve built another well, adjacent to an existing well at Woodcreek Park (the site is still being completed but the well has been producing since September 2020) and are doing work to increase production capacity at two others. Once construction of the treatment plant we’re building at the Conejo Wellfield, the District’s largest producing local resource, is complete and the Wellfield is returned to service, we’ll be producing more local water than ever.

What Are We Doing Next?

Starting in May, the District is embarking on an update to its Strategic Plan. We expect that charting a course to be completely self-reliant and independent of the State Water Project will be the cornerstone of our future planning.

It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t be cheap, but with the cost of imported water going up every year, the math on every conceivable local project is looking better all the time. And a future where our supply portfolio is so diverse that we no longer have to depend on imported water is a future in which our customers no longer have to conserve to accommodate the state’s infrastructure failures and policy mistakes.