Photo of dried up San Luis reservoir with title: Mandatory Conservation Plan

Mandatory Conservation Plan 2021

Everything you need to know about the new CPUC-approved plan to meet California water conservation goals.

We are facing an extreme drought. Valley Water, Governor Newsom, and Santa Clara County have all made drought declarations.

San Jose Water has been closely monitoring the drought in order to meet the water needs of our community. Despite great effort and progress, we did not reach Valley Water’s mandatory call for a 15% reduction in customer water use from 2019 levels. Therefore, we have decided to add drought allocations and surcharges to our mandatory conservation plan, which has been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Our updated Water Shortage Contingency Plan (also known as Schedule 14.1) includes mandatory water use restrictions plus three major components:

Graphic showing elements of new Mandatory Conservation Plan
  • Water use allocations based on a customer’s individual 2019 usage
  • A set of bi-monthly minimum allocations to recognize the efforts our low-water-using customers
  • Drought surcharges for exceeding allocations

This plan is different from the one used in the previous drought from 2015-17.

The current plan takes into account existing water supply conditions, Valley Water's call for conservation, and lessons learned from the droughts in 2015 and in the early 1990s.

How do allocations work?

All residential customers and landscape service accounts will receive a water use allocation based on their individual 2019 usage.  The current call for conservation is for a reduction in water usage of 15% from 2019 levels.  Increased or decreased levels of conservation may be required in the future depending on our water supply situation and/or orders from the State or California Public Utilities Commission.


Graphic showing formula used to determine drought allocations

In addition, and to recognize the efforts of customers who have and continue to use water wisely, we are setting a minimum level of consumption where drought surcharges would not apply.  As shown in the table below, if your monthly usage falls below the minimum monthly drought allocation, surcharges would not apply.

Customers who have very low usage and fall below the minimum drought allocations shown below will not be asked to cut usage back.


2019 Average Monthly

Residential Usage (CCF*)

15% Reduction

Minimum Monthly 

Drought Allocations (CCF*)

January                    10                    9
February                      7                    6
March                     7                    6
April                     7                    6
May                     9                    8
June                   10                    9
July                   13                   11
August                   13                   11
September                   15                   13
October                   13                   11
November                   14                   12
December                   11                     9

*CCF = Centum Cubic Feet, the most common units also known as HCF (hundred cubic feet), representing one hundred cubic feet or ~748 gallons of water.

What about Drought Surcharges?

Customers who exceed their allocations will incur drought surcharges. Any units of water above the monthly drought allocation will be charged at the Tier 3 rate in effect, currently $7.13 per unit. This is in addition to charges at regular rates for all units of water consumed. 

Examples of how this will work:

Graphic showing glass of water depicting allocations for Customer A
Graphic showing glass of water depicting allocations for Customer B
Mandatory Conservation Plan FAQs graphic


Find detailed answers and diagrams to any specific questions about how the Mandatory Conservation Plan works here.

Conservation is a California Way of Life graphic

Drought Page

Your one-stop shop for all resources and links pertaining to the current drought.

Preview image of the brochure

Digital Brochure

Preview image of the Allocation Appeal Form

Allocation Appeal Forms

Trying to file a customer allocations appeal? There are three ways to do this. Click here for instructions and downloadable forms in English and Spanish.