(KTXL) — Currently, the city of Sacramento is on a “water alert,” which is asking residents and businesses to reduce their water usage by 20%. 

Under a “water alert,” fines for water waste are doubled and car washing is limited to the city’s watering days, according to the city’s website. 

What are Sacramento’s water-wasting fines?

If Sacramento water users fail to comply with the city’s watering schedule, here are the fines during a “stage 2” drought:

  • First notice of violation: Written notice of violation, no fine is issued
  • Second notice of violation (within 365 days): $50 fine, which can be waived by participating in a water conservation program
  • Third notice of violation (within 365 days): $200 fine
  • Fourth notice of violation, and each subsequent notice of violation (within 365 days): $1,000 fine

What is Sacramento’s watering schedule?  

If you live at an address with even numbers, you can water your lawn on Wednesday and Sunday, according to the city’s water schedule. Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesday and Saturday.

When you water on those days, there are still restrictions on when you’re allowed to use water. For example, when washing your car on watering days, you must do so with an automatic shut-off nozzle. 

According to the city of Sacramento website, here are the regulations to follow when using your sprinklers to water your lawn:

  • Watering is allowed before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
  • Wasting water is not allowed, including water running off properties and onto sidewalks or gutters, or ponding of water
  • Watering is not allowed 48 hours after ⅛ inch of rain
  • When there are two or more consecutive days of temperatures at or above 100 degrees, landscapes are exempt from watering scheduled restrictions

Are trees allowed to be watered? 

According to the Sac Tree Foundation, trees are exempt from most watering restrictions and schedules due to their importance to the environment. 

When watering your trees, here are the techniques that are exempt from watering restrictions and schedules, according to the Sac Tree Foundation: 

  • Drip irrigation
  • Soaker hoses
  • Hose-end sprinklers on a low setting
  • Hand watering with a hose fitted with a shut-off nozzle
  • Bucket watering
  • Gray water (only use biodegradable soaps) and harvested rainwater

It’s important to note to not overwater trees, as they need as much oxygen as their roots need water, Sac Tree Foundation said. 

Other tips that the Sac Tree Foundation offers include reusing water when possible, adding natural wood chip mulch around your tree to conserve moisture and avoiding using fertilizer unless your soil has a specific nutrient deficiency.