Implementing Mandatory Drought Watering Reductions

My Rachio replaced an already smart Weathermatic controller that I’ve been using for years. As such, my watering times and adjustments were already pretty smart, and presumably in-line with what Rachio is suggesting.

Our water agency is starting a mandatory month vs. month cut of 36% vs. 2013 watering levels this coming June…non-compliance could apparently cost $500/bill. With that as the backdrop, I need to force Rachio to water less than it should based on plant type, soil type, etc.

What is my best option for this? Should I simply do a seasonal adjustment across the board on all of my zones at or around the 40% level to add some wiggle room? Are there other settings I can manipulate to achieve this? I’ll eventually be replacing a fair amount of our turf, so when that gets done I’ll hopefully be able to get the watering of the rest of the yard back to normal.




Thanks for reaching out to us. Happy to hear that you grabbed an Iro.

This is definitely important and not something that you would want to mess around with, especially with a $500 non-compliance cost. I think that you would be best suited to turn the water budgeting feature off on your watering times and set your seasonal adjustment to -40%, or more, so that you are under the mandatory 36% decrease. This will be the easiest way to ensure that your durations are short enough to comply. Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks again for your support.


Hi @bkr11,

Adding to @kevinro’s comments, we are planning on releasing a ‘Drought condition’ feature in an upcoming release – no promise on which one at the moment.

Any chance you could share your town’s restriction with us?

Best, Emil

Hi Emil,
Following is a link to the page that has the PDF’s for the various communities affected by my water provider.

An interesting stipulation I saw was the following:

The use of potable water for watering outside plants, lawn, landscape, and turf area during certain hours prohibited by applicable laws, during and up to 48 hours after measurable rainfall (0.1” or more).

In addition to that it’s saying even numbered houses can water on Sunday and Wednesday, odd numbered on Tuesday and Saturday.

Thanks as always for the help.


Derek - I manage a municipal water district in San Diego County and we have some of the same mandates from the State that you do. I don’t think Golden State Water will charge you $500 if you exceed your allocation. The $500 charge is a fine that the State may levy against GSW if the agency does not meet the conservation threshold as a whole, but I am not aware of any agency in Southern California who plans to fine individual users at that level. Looking at the document you had in the link it looks like repeat offenders will have a flow restrictor placed on their meter (essentially an orifice plate that looks like a washer) and you will have to pay for the installation.

You do bring up a good point that it would be great if Rachio could add to the software. Many of us have restricted watering days and times of day that we must work within. It would be great to tell the system when it can’t water, and let it figure out how much to apply and when during the allowable periods. I think that there may be a way to do this using IFTTT but I am not sure. I just got my Rachio delivered to my door today, so I will be configuring it over the weekend.

@Tomzo This feature will be released very soon in 2.0 of our software called flex schedules. They are based on the managed allowed depletion principle of watering. Let us know if you have any other questions or feedback. Thanks!


Just curious if there are any updates on your “Drought Condition” feature. Is this still in the works? Do you have a target date to release this feature? I think it would make things much easier to block out times when I can water and let my Iro figure out the best watering schedule.
I imagine the tough part would be implementing a time that the cycle needs to be completed by.
My watering restrictions are: Tuesdays and Saturdays before 8AM or after 5PM

Thanks for the update!

This has been deferred in lieu of all the 2.0 work we have been implementing. Will let you know when this is re-prioritized in our software backlog.


Do you have an idea of when “time” restrictions will be added to flex schedules. This seems to have been discussed many times in the blog and I was hoping it might have gotten into 2.0. It would be nice to block out when we can’t water and let the algorithm go to work. I love the smart cycle since I have mostly clay type soil and need cycle soak to stop run off and get the water savings. Smart cycle can play havoc on time restrictions because the times really can extend out.

Sorry not at the moment, we need to regroup and re-prioritize.

@humphreyhome, until we can add time restrictions to the app, I’d recommend double checking your soil selection and considering a mixed clay soil type if the soils were amended prior to planting. This will reduct your cycle/soak durations.

Just an idea :wink:

Best, Emil

I just got hit with a Water Use Allowance Exceedance fine in Santa Monica. The restriction here to mitigate water use in the drought is simply that I can’t exceed a certain amount of water use each month. How can I decrease the overall watering percentage, so all of my garden will take a hit?

Forgive me if this is a basic question, but I just installed the controller last month.

How can California allow any landscape water use at this point? I know I sound harsh but the state must face the drought emergency with ferocity.


You can decrease the overall watering time on a schedule for all of the zones by using the +/- edit buttons at the top of the zone durations.


Thanks for the quick reply, Franz. I realize my problem now. I’d already set the zones at 50%, but I guess they can’t go lower than that. What other techniques can I take to lower the watering times? I’m almost double my allotment, having just moved from an ETwater controller to a Rachio.


It sounds like you are on a flex daily schedule. My guess is there are some fine tunings you need to do.

Here are some ways to fine tune the schedule. One of the easiest ways to change duration without affecting anything else is to choose a nozzle type with a higher precipitation rate, or just create a custom one with a higher precipitation rate.

If you have any tuning questions the community at large is a good resource to help adjust your zone settings to dial everything in.

The flexible monthly and fixed schedules allow you to adjust minutes however you like if that is what you are looking for.