Green Tips from Public Works

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Water Wise Toilets

If you are remodeling a bathroom, constructing a new home, or simply replacing an old, leaky toilet that is wasting money and water, installing a WaterSense labeled toilet is a great way to improve water efficiency at home or for your business.

Toilets are the largest indoor user of water. If your home was built before 1960 and still has original toilets, each flush is a whopping 7 gallons. Over the years toilets were manufactured to use less water. In the 1960’s, 5.5 gallons per flush was the norm. In the 80’s, that dropped down to about 3.5 gallons per flush. The current Federal standard for new toilets is no more than 1.6 gallons per flush but in California, you can’t buy a new toilet over 1.28 gallons per flush. So it’s clear that you can save a lot of water with a new toilet without making a lifestyle change. Household flushing stays the same, but the gallons used are less.

To check for toilet leaks, listen for running water, jiggle the handle if needed, look in the tank for unseated flappers and you can do a simple dye test too. Toilet dye tablets can be picked up at the hardware store or stop by the Public Works office for a couple Free tablets. You can also do your own dye test by dropping some food coloring in the tank and look to be sure it’s not leaking into the bowl before the flush.If you see streaks of colored dye, you’ve got a leaky toilet to fix.

More ideas on saving water.

Water Meters

Water meter being inspected
Water Meter Information

More Days to Water in the Spring

The City Council of Merced just approved changes to our water conservation regulations. This is the time of year when the need to water our lawns and landscape decreases. In fact, we should have some rain very soon. As the weather gets colder the need for water decreases.

But in the spring when it starts to warm up again, we will all be able to spread out our watering over three days. Changes made to the ordinance will take effect May 2018.

The new ordinance has a staged approach to water conservation. At all times, water waste is prohibited, but in times of drought, we only water two days per week; as we have been since 2014. In May, if we continue to be out of drought, we will be allowed to water three days per week. We’ll have more announcements around that time to remind you of this change.

So for now, continue to limit your watering to two days per week or less. As the weather changes you can stop watering for the winter and be sure not to water on a rainy day or within 48 hours of a measurable rain.

State of California: Turf Replacement Program - Accepting Applications Now!


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How to Save Water 101

  • Use drip irrigation for trees, shrubs, and flowers; saves 15 gallons/each time you water.
  • Plant drought-resistant trees and plants; saves 30-60 gallons/each time you water/1,000 sq ft.
  • Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks, and patios; saves 8-18 gallons/minute.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust so that you don’t have run-off; saves 15 gallons/each time you water.
  • Place a layer of organic mulch around trees and plants, it helps reduce evaporation and prevents weeds; saves 20-30 gallons/each time you water/1,000 sq. ft.
  • Turn off the shower water while washing your hair; saves up to 150 gallons a month.
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth or shaving; saves 10 gallons/day.
  • Install faucet aerators on the kitchen faucet to reduce the flows to less than 1 gallon per minute.
  • Keep toilets and water fixtures in good repair and fix leaks promptly.
  • A new water efficient dishwasher can save 3-8 gallons per load.

For more water efficient practices, check out To report water being wasted, call 388-SAVE, or check us out at or like us on Facebook at City of Merced: Water Conservation.

Watering Schedule

  • Addresses ending in 2, 4, 6, 8, or 0, Water on Tuesdays & Saturdays
  • Addresses ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9, Water on Wednesdays & Sundays
  • The window of hours to water are midnight to 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. to midnight; the best time for your lawn is early in the morning.
  • Remember to turn off the sprinklers when it rains.

For more information or questions, check out the City’s website at or call the Public Works Water Department at 385-6800. And keep your eye on these Green Tips articles for future water savings advice and information.

To report water being wasted call 388-SAVE.

Water Conservation