COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

Plumbing Fixture Retrofit Regulations

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
At this time staff in the water conservation section are being temporarily re-assigned to other pressing projects.  Please expect delays.  
Due to COVID-19 and the Shelter-in-Place order, the Water Conservation Office is temporarily unable to schedule inspections. Property owners still have the option of
  • hiring a licensed general building or plumbing contractor to conduct an inspection
  • completing a Transfer of Responsibility form. This option grants the buyer an additional 90 days to comply with this requirement.
Certificates and Transfer of Responsibility forms can still be mailed or emailed to the Water Conservation Office to be signed off. Agents and owners may still request copies of previously issued certificates. 

Water Conservation Certificate            Transfer of Responsibility form

Certifying a Property

All residential, commercial, and industrial buildings receiving water from the City of Santa Cruz are required to be retrofitted with high efficiency plumbing fixtures at the time of sale of the property. Under City and County regulations, the seller must:

  1. Replace any toilets, urinals, and showerheads that do not meet the following low consumption standards:
     • Toilets: 1.28 gallons per flush (Existing 1.6 toilets on the property do not need to be retrofitted)
     • Urinals: 0.5 gallons per flush
     • Showerheads: 2.0 gallons per minute
  2. Arrange for an inspection by either a city Water Conservation Representative or a licensed plumbing or general building contractor, and
  3. Obtain a Water Conservation Certificate from the Water Conservation Office

Transferring Retrofit Responsibility to the Buyer

The seller may transfer the retrofit responsibility to the buyer if both parties agree to do so. In this case, the seller must submit a Transfer of Responsibility form to the Santa Cruz Water Department before the property is sold. The buyer has 90 days from the date of sale of the property to complete the retrofit and verify compliance.

Property owners who must replace older toilets or urinals may be eligible for City rebates.  For more information, go to our rebate webpage for businesses or residences.

Frequently Asked Questions
Check the FAQ page for more information about the Plumbing Fixture Retrofit program.


  • Water Conservation Certificate: If you are ready to certify your property, fill out, sign, and return this form to the Water Conservation Office. Please note: we only accept original signatures. We do not accept photo copy, fax, or email copies of this form.
  • Transfer of Responsibility form: Use this form if the buyer and seller agree to transfer responsibility for completing the retrofit to the buyer.
  • Disclosure form: The seller or seller's agent must submit this form to the prospective buyer to disclose the plumbing fixture retrofit requirements.

City of Santa Cruz Water Service Area Map
The City of Santa Cruz provides water to Live Oak and parts of Capitola and Soquel in addition to Santa Cruz. If you do not live in our water service area, please contact the water supplier for your property to learn what is required at the time of sale.

Additional Information

Text of the Ordinances


Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Acrobat Reader Download Acrobat Reader Flash Player Download Flash Player Windows Media Player Download Windows Media Player Microsoft Silverlight Download Microsoft Silverlight Word Viewer Download Word Viewer Excel Viewer Download Excel Viewer PowerPoint Viewer Download PowerPoint Viewer