Placer County Water Agency
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Frequently Asked Questions


Treated Water

1. What are the current drought restrictions?(Answer)Treated water customers are prohibited from using potable (treated) water to do the following:

  • Watering outdoor landscapes more than 2 days per week, unless applied by high efficiency equipment specified in the Agency’s irrigation efficiencies program.
  • Watering landscapes in such a manner that causes runoff. Please check your sprinklers and make sure they are watering lawns, trees and shrubs – and not the driveway, sidewalk or other similar areas.
  • Using a hose without a shut-off nozzle to wash a vehicle.
  • Washing hard surfaces, such as driveways and sidewalks.
  • Using water in a decorative water feature, such as fountain, without a recirculating system.

2. If I am building a swimming pool, will I be able to fill it?(Answer)Currently yes, with the exception of new connections. Subject to change depending on future Board direction and possible mandatory water restrictions.

3. How are Home Owner Associations affected?(Answer)HOAs that purchase water for common area landscaping are being asked to conserve as well.

4. How can I save water?(Answer)Tips visit

Untreated Water

1. What is an orifice and what is it used for?(Answer)An orifice is a measuring device installed in irrigation services to regulate flows of water delivery.  It can be sized with head pressure or psi to meet certain demands.  For example, a customer who receives 1 miners’ inch would have an orifice installed in their canal turnout with a diameter of 1.128 inches.

2. What is a Miners’ Inch?(Answer)It’s a method of measuring irrigation water deliveries dating back to the gold rush era.  1 Miners’ inch is equivalent to 11.2 gallons per minute of continuous flow with 6 inches of head pressure above the center of the orifice.

3. What are some things I should check when I have low pressure or no water delivery on an open canal service?(Answer)Begin by checking the water level in your water box.  If the water box is low or water is traveling straight through your water box, check the screen in the canal to make sure that it is clear of debris and that you are getting full delivery. If you are currently using your maximum flow or on shared delivery, it could be that a neighbor is drawing higher demands or you may have a leak.  If the screen is partially plugged an instrument such as a garden rake can be used to shake the debris or remove the debris from the canal screen.  We encourage customers to use caution when walking or working near any of the canals.

If your water box is full water is being delivered to your water box and there is usually a complication on the customer side to be addressed.  A full water box will be the same level as the water in the canal.

4. Can someone temporarily volunteer for a smaller untreated water orifice during the drought?(Answer)Yes. Voluntary water service reduction or temporary discontinuance: Any customer who informs the Agency in writing that they are willing to limit or forego water delivery during the drought emergency will not lose their priority of service. Additionally, fees or charges related to this temporary discontinuance or reinstitution of service will be waived. Please contact Customer Services at (530) 823-4850 or via e-mail at for further information.

5. I live in a rural area and am concerned that my neighbor doesn’t water their property which poses a potential fire hazard.  What do I do?(Answer)Fire protection will not be sacrificed.  PCWA will provide enough water per the water code for health and safety, which includes fire protection.  If the drought persists such that the Board has to impose more stringent restrictions, our goal is not to ask for cutbacks so severe that landscapes must die.  Canal customers may receive at least 1/2 miner’s inch, which is enough to water an acre of land around rural homes.


Placer County Water Agency
Placer County Water Agency - 144 Ferguson Road, P.O. Box 6570, Auburn, CA 95604 - Telephone: (530) 823-4850