Notice of Water Shortage Contingency and Staged Mandatory Water Conservation and Rationing

Los Osos and Santa Maria Service Areas


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Due to the drought conditions throughout California, the Governor declared a drought emergency and requested for water users to voluntarily reduce usage by 15%, compared to 2020 water consumption. In response, Golden State Water Company (GSWC) filed an Advice Letter (1862-W) with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeking approval to add a Water Shortage Contingency and Staged Mandatory Water Conservation and Rationing (Schedule 14.1) plan to its tariffs for all GSWC customer service areas.

The Schedule 14.1 filing outlines detailed information on restrictions, water allocations, enforcement measures and surcharges that may be activated to achieve water-use reductions needed to address water supply shortages and/or identified water-use reduction goals established by an authorized government agency or official.

These restrictions are designed to encourage water users to reduce their usage, as compared to the amount they used in 2020, with a strong focus on encouraging those customers with high per capita usage to achieve proportionally greater reduction than those with low usage.

The Stage of Schedule 14.1 implemented for each GSWC customer service area will be determined based on local drought and water supply conditions and/or direction from an authorized government agency or official. GSWC may implement any stage to meet the necessary water usage reduction and the associated Drought Emergency Surcharge without first implementing an initial/preceding stage, if warranted.

GSWC is implementing Stage 2 for customers served by the Edna Road, Nipomo and Cypress Ridge water systems. 

Stage 1 will be implemented for all other systems in the Los Osos and Santa Maria service areas, including Los Osos, Lake Marie, Orcutt, Santa Maria, Sisquoc and Tanglewood.

GSWC recognizes the conservation efforts customers have made since California’s last drought and the continued commitment to making conservation a way of life.


GSWC will host an online public meeting to help customers understand this filing and associated enforcement mechanisms and provide information on conservation rebates, programs, and other tools GSWC offers to help customers reduce their water use.

The meeting date, time, and information follow:


September 10, 2021


3:00 pm – 4:00 pm



Stage 1

Stage 1 is a “Water Alert” where voluntary conservation is encouraged. 

Outdoor irrigation is restricted to three days per week:

Addresses Ending In:                 Watering Days:

Even Numbers (0, 2, 4, 6, 8):      Sunday, Wednesday, Friday

Odd Numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9):       Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday


All outdoor irrigation must occur between the hours of 7 pm – 8 am.

Failure to comply with these restrictions may result in the installation of a flow restrictor device along with associated fees for installation and removal.

If conditions warrant, GSWC will change the number of watering days and the specific day of watering after first notifying its customers in accordance with Rule 14.1.

Each subsequent Stage will be implemented if the preceding Stage allocations and drought emergency surcharges are deemed insufficient to achieve reductions due to water supply shortages or to achieve identified water usage goals established by an authorized government agency or official.

In addition to the restrictions identified in Stage 1, the following allocations and drought emergency surcharges are in effect for Stages 2-6:

1. Outdoor irrigation is restricted to two days per week:

Addresses Ending In:                 Watering Days:

Even Numbers (0, 2, 4, 6, 8):      Sunday, Wednesday

Odd Numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9):       Tuesday, Saturday


2. All customers will have their baseline established using the 2020 usage data for their premise or an area wide average baseline for similar usage if 2020 data does not exist (e.g. new customer accounts).

3. The customer’s allocation will be based on the 2020 baseline less the mandatory reduction % per stage.

Stage 2 – 20% mandatory reduction (Moderate Shortage)

Stage 3 – 30% mandatory reduction (Severe Shortage)

Stage 4 – 40% mandatory reduction (Critical Shortage)

Stage 5 – 50% mandatory reduction (Shortage Crisis)

Stage 6 – 55% mandatory reduction (Emergency Shortage)


4. No allocation will be set at less than eight (8) Ccf per monthly billing period or sixteen (16) Ccf per bi-monthly billing period.

5. All usage in excess of the customer’s allocation will be charged at the regular rate plus a drought emergency surcharge as follows:

Stage 2 – $2.50 per ccf

Stage 3 – $5.00 per ccf

Stage 4 – $7.50 per ccf

Stage 5 – $10.00 per ccf

Stage 6 – $15.00 per ccf


The charge for the installation and removal of a flow-restricting device shall be:

            5/8” to 1”:        $150

            1 1/2” to 2”:     $200

            3” and larger:    $300

The flow restrictor will remain installed for a minimum of 7 days.


Any customer who seeks a variance from any of the provisions of this voluntary water conservation and mandatory rationing plan shall notify the GSWC in writing using the Appeals Form, explaining in detail the reason for such a variance. GSWC will evaluate each request based on the standard for efficient water usage, considering similar customers and meter size, and respond in writing.  

The Appeals Form is available online at GSWC website: or by calling 1-800-999-4033.

Any customer not satisfied with GSWC’s response may file an appeal with the Director of the CPUC’s Water Division.

If the customer disagrees with such disposition, the customer shall have the right to file a complaint with the CPUC. Except as set forth in this Section, no person shall have any right or claim in law or in equity, against GSWC because of, or as a result of, any matter or thing done or threatened to be done pursuant to the provisions of the voluntary water conservation and mandatory rationing plan.


  1. A Tier 2 advice letter will have to be filed with the CPUC to activate any of the Stages of Mandatory Water Use Reduction and Drought Emergency Surcharges listed in this Schedule.
  2. The active Stage of Mandatory Water Use Reduction and Drought Emergency Surcharges is to remain in effect until a Tier 2 advice letter is filed with the CPUC to activate a different Stage or when Schedule 14.1 is deactivated.
  3. Water-use violation fines and/or Drought Emergency Surcharges must be separately identified on each bill.
  4. All bills are subject to reimbursement fee set forth on Schedule No. UF.
  5. All revenues collected by GSWC through water use violation fines and/or Drought Emergency Surcharges shall not be accounted for as income but shall be accumulated in the WRAM and lost revenue portion tracked in the 2021 Water Conservation Memorandum Account (2021WCMA) for non-WRAM tariffs.
  6. No Customer shall use GSWC’s water for non-essential or unauthorized uses as defined below:
  1. The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures.
  2. The use of a hose that dispenses potable water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use.
  3. The use of potable water for washing buildings, structures, sidewalks, walkways, patios, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced, non-porous areas.
  4. The use of potable water in a fountain or other decorative water feature, except where the water is part of a recirculating system.
  5. The use of potable water for watering outside plants, lawn, landscape, and turf area during certain hours prohibited by applicable laws or rules, during and up to 48 hours after measurable rainfall (0.1” or more).
  6. GSWC will promptly notify customers when aware of leaks within the customer’s control; the failure to repair any leaks, breaks, or other malfunction resulting in water waste in a customer’s domestic or outdoor water system within forty-eight (48) hours of notification by GSWC, unless other, specific arrangements are made with and agreed to by GSWC.
  7. The serving of water, other than upon request, in eating and drinking establishments, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars, or other public places where food or drink are served and/or purchased.
  8. Hotels/motels must provide guests with the option of choosing not to have towels and linens laundered daily and prominently display notice of this option.
  9. The use of potable water for irrigation of ornamental turf on public street medians.
  10. The use of potable water for irrigation outside of newly constructed homes and buildings that is not delivered by drip or micro spray systems.
  11. Commercial, industrial, and institutional properties, such as campuses, golf courses, and cemeteries, immediately implement water efficiency measures to reduce potable water use in an amount consistent with the mandated reduction.
  12. Further Reduction in or the complete prohibition of any other use of water declared non-essential, unauthorized, prohibited, or unlawful by an authorized government or regulatory agency or official.
  13. Use of potable water for watering streets with trucks, or other vehicles, except for initial wash-down for construction purposes (if street sweeping is not feasible), or to protect the health and safety of the public.
  14. The outdoor irrigation restriction does not apply to trees or edible vegetation watered solely by drip or microspray systems.

If you need additional information, or a copy of the Advice Letter you may visit GSWC’s website at or call the GSWC’s 24-hour Customer Service Center, toll free, at 1-800-999-4033, TTY 1-877-933-9533.