Variances to the Water Conservation Ordinance


City of Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) encourages all customers to observe all City of Dallas Code related to landscape irrigation including time-of-day and maximum twice-weekly watering restrictions. However, there may be circumstances where watering rules cannot be reasonably followed. In these limited cases, a variance to the Water Conservation Ordinance may be requested.


Variances are NOT required for:

  • Operating an irrigation system for the purposes of repair or testing. The customer or licensed irrigator must be on site while water is being used during the repair or testing.
  • Hand watering potted plants. Since pots are NOT considered part of the landscape, they do NOT require a variance and can be hand watered with a hose or watering can at any time.
  • Pool filling or backwashing filters. NOT prohibited under the Water Conservation Ordinance.
  • Washing vehicles. NOT prohibited but City encourages the use of bucket/container, hand-held hose with positive shut-off valve or commercial car wash.
  • Watering foundations. Foundations may be watered on any day of the week.
  • Hosing off or power washing decks, buildings, windows, etc. NOT restricted.
  • Operation of ornamental fountains. NOT prohibited.
  • Irrigation using non-DWU water source (reclaimed water or water wells). Reclaimed water or the use of water wells are NOT regulated under the provisions of the Water Conservation Ordinance, however, in accordance with the Dallas Plumbing Code, Section J106.1.5, a sign must be posted in the area that is being irrigated with such water giving notice of the use of the non-DWU source water.
  • Drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand-watering are permitted on any day.
  • Irrigating nursery stock at a commercial plant nursery.


Variances will NOT be considered for:

  • Inconvenience, i.e., scheduling conflicts with mowing days, personal preference, etc.;
  • Automatic irrigation controllers incapable of day of week scheduling.


Variances will be considered for:

1. Large Properties
A variance may be granted if it can be demonstrated that one inch of precipitation cannot be applied in the two allotted days per week during allowed watering hours in a single day. Examples of a large property would include, but are not exclusive to, golf courses (public and private), large school or business campuses, athletic fields (public and private), parks (public and private), and large common areas (apartments, town homes, etc.). The irrigation system in use on the property must be operating in a manner that complies with the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance. All large property variance requests must include an Large Property Irrigation System Evaluation Report Form to be performed and signed by a licensed irrigator. Compliance with that report will be field-verified by City staff before approval of a Large Property Variance, and applicant must submit an Large Property Irrigation Schedule Form demonstrating an annual plan for a 5% reduction in consumption by month based on the preceding calendar year’s water consumption. This 5% reduction must be maintained for the duration of the variance. Failure to reduce consumption in any one month will result in revocation of the variance.

If a variance is granted, a Temporary Water Use Variance Permit (the “Permit”) will be sent to the applicant. The property owner must post the Permit at the property listed on the Permit in a location accessible by City Code Compliance staff and visible to the public.

2. Newly-Installed Landscapes
Those installing lawns and landscapes may apply for a variance to allow additional watering days for up to five weeks following installation of the landscape. Unless a variance is requested and granted, watering new plantings outside of assigned days and times will be subject to citation.

3. Special Circumstances
Variances may be granted for other special circumstances, if it is determined that extenuating circumstances/extreme hardship exist, and the failure to grant such variance would cause an emergency condition adversely affecting the health, safety or welfare of the public or the person requesting the variance. All of the following conditions must be met:

  • Granting of a variance must not cause an immediate significant reduction in the city’s water supply.
  • The health, safety, or welfare of other persons will not be adversely affected by granting of the variance.
  • The applicant must demonstrate that the extreme hardship or need is related to the health, safety, or welfare of the person requesting it.


How to Submit a Variance Form

The variance application is a PDF form that is fillable or you can print out the form and write in the information.

Click here for a Newly-Installed Landscape Variance or Special Circumstance Variance application.
Click here for a Large Property Variance application. Large Property Variances MUST also include the Large Property Irrigation System Evaluation Report Form and the Large Property Irrigation Schedule Form with monthly 5% reduced water consumption.

Forms may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Complete the PDF form, print, sign and scan the signed form. E-mail the scanned file of the form to:
  • Complete the PDF form, print, sign and FAX the signed form to: 214-670-5244.
  • Complete the PDF form, make a copy for your records and mail the original to:

    City of Dallas Water Utilities Conservation Division
    Variance Request
    1500 Marilla Street, Room 2AN
    Dallas, TX 75201

The processing time required for the review of variance applications is typically ten (10) business days. Requests for Large Property variances may be slightly longer. Estimated review times begin when the complete variance application is received by the City of Dallas Water Conservation Division.

NOTE: Submission of an application does NOT guarantee the issuance of a variance.


Compliance requirements for all variances:

Throughout the period of any approved variance, the DWU customer (property owner, property manager or tenant) is responsible for compliance with all provisions of the Water Conservation Ordinance. If a property for which a variance has been requested or approved is found to be non-compliant with any of the requirements below, the variance will be revoked immediately. The Water Conservation Ordinance requirements include:

  • Repair any broken, missing or misdirected sprinkler heads and any leaking or broken pipes. Maintenance of automatic irrigation systems to prevent water waste is required.
  • All automatic sprinkler systems are required to have a working rain and freeze sensor installed.
  • Watering is NOT allowed during any form of precipitation.
  • No watering of driveways, sidewalks and streets. Hose end sprinklers or in-ground irrigation systems with broken or misaligned heads that result in the watering of an impervious surface are prohibited.
  • Water run-off is prohibited. Water running off a property to form a stream of water or puddle on an impervious surface violates the Dallas City Code.

(1) Compliance Check: The City of Dallas (the “City”) reserves the right to verify an Applicant’s compliance with the terms of an approved variance. The City may choose to perform a site check. If the Applicant fails to comply with the terms of the approved variance, the variance will be revoked.

(2) Variance Expiration: Variances will automatically expire upon a set expiration date in the variance or with the implementation of the Drought Contingency Plan, whichever occurs first.

Although variance requests will be carefully reviewed, not every request will be granted. All variance applicants must follow the mandatory restrictions in effect until their application has been approved.