Emergency Water Conservation - Ordinance 8461

In 1995, Tucson's Mayor and City Council approved the Emergency Water Conservation Ordinance, which has the ability to regulate water use during emergency conditions. This ordinance is designed to ensure that the health and safety needs of the community are met during times of an emergency. Typically, such an event would limit the amount of water the utility would be able to deliver to its customers. An emergency situation might involve the loss of a well field, damage to a major transmission line, loss of a water treatment facility, or extended periods of high customer demand.

Regardless of the source of water, the ordinance allows for certain non-essential uses of water to be prohibited or restricted to ensure sufficient water is available to meet basic needs such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, toilet flushing, and maintaining sufficient flows for fire protection. Similar ordinances are in place in many other communities to address various emergency conditions.

Specific restrictions include:

  • A prohibition on all outdoor irrigation, except for areas using reclaimed water. A schedule designating specific watering days may be implemented in place of a ban.
  • Washing of sidewalks, driveways, tennis courts, patios, and other paved areas is prohibited.
  • Outdoor use of water-based play apparatus is prohibited.
  • A minimum operating efficiency level of two cycles of concentration is required for water-cooled space and equipment cooling systems.
  • Restaurants and other food service establishments are prohibited from serving water to customers, except upon request.
  • Operation of outdoors misting systems used to cool public areas is prohibited.
  • Filling of swimming pools, fountain spas, or other outdoor water features is prohibited.
  • Washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, and other vehicles is prohibited, except at facilities equipped with wash water recirculation systems.

Exemptions from the requirements may be granted for reasons related to public health and safety, or economic hardship.

For more information, visit the web page for the Tucson City Code.