Alternative Watering Solution – Using Graywater

The historic drought continues to worsen. Snow-pack levels were found to be less than 5-7 percent of average in the last survey of the year.

On January 17, 2014, Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency due to historically low snow and rainfall and declining reservoir levels. As part of the declaration, the Governor called for an immediate, voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use per person.

On April 1, 2015, for the first time in state history, the Governor has directed the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across California to reduce water usage by 25 percent.

The Board in response to the drought has mandated Drought Stage 3 of the Blue Lake Springs Mutual Water Company Drought Action Plan. Mandatory restrictions on water include suspension of all outside watering and 35% reduction in water usage. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had many shareholders call the office inquiring about the County’s current restrictions on alternative watering such as graywater. You asked, and we have the answers.

  • Graywater includes: used water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom wash basins, and water from clothes washing machines and laundry tubs.
  • Graywater does not include: waste water from kitchen sinks, dishwashers, or laundry water from soiled diapers.

Graywater is an alternative watering solution for your landscape. With outside watering now suspended in BLS, it’s a method many homeowners are turning to, to save their outside plants and landscape.

No, the county does not have any restrictions on graywater use.

Yes! California’s Graywater Standards are now part of the State Plumbing Code, making it legal to use graywater everywhere in California. These standards were developed and adopted in response to Assembly Bill 3518, the Graywater Systems for Single Family Residences Act of 1992.

You are required to have a building permit. You can apply for a permit by contacting the Calaveras County Building Department or visit

A permit would be required to install a graywater system at a nominal fee.

The permit fee is around $154 for a plan review and one construction inspection.

Lucky for us, the California Department of Water Resources has created a graywater guide available online. You are also encouraged to visit for more conservation tips and news update regarding the drought.