All buildings receiving water from Soquel Creek Water District must be retrofitted with high efficiency plumbing fixtures at the time of sale of the property.
- Replacement toilets must be rated 1.28 gallon per flush or less.
- Replacement showerheads must be rated 2.0 gallons per minute flow rate or less.
- Replacement urinals must be rated 0.5 gallons per flush or less
The seller of the property is responsible for the following:
- Replacing any toilets, showerheads and urinals that don’t meet the high efficiency plumbing standards below. (Pre-existing toilets that flush no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) toilets do not need to be replaced.)
- Obtaining a Water Conservation Certificate from Soquel Creek Water District and
- Disclosing retrofit requirements to the buyer of the property, before the property changes ownership. The Seller may submit a Transfer of Responsibility to Retrofit Form to Soquel Creek Water District if Buyer agrees to perform the retrofits.
Copies of the written disclosure form and the Water Conservation Certificate are to be included with documents transferring title to the property.
Links to County and Capitola City Code:
Verification and Certification
Prior to the time of sale, the Seller must verify compliance by one of the following methods:
- Physical inspection of the building by District staff, or a licensed plumbing or building contractor; OR
- Provide documentation that all structures on the property were constructed or renovated in 1994 or later.
The District issues a water conservation certificate to the Seller once compliance has been verified. Seller must provide Buyer with a copy of the water conservation certificate or written proof that the installation of devices is not required because of the specific exemption(s) allowed under this law.
Option to Transfer Responsibility for Retrofitting to the Buyer
The Seller and Buyer may mutually agree to transfer responsibility for retrofitting to the Buyer. The Seller is required to submit a Transfer of Responsibility form, approved by the Buyer, to the Soquel Creek Water District Water Conservation Department before the property is sold. The Buyer has ninety (90) calendar days from the date of the sale of the property to perform the retrofit and verify compliance.
An exemption from these requirements may be granted if:
- The building drainage system or public sewer, or both, are incompatible with high efficiency toilet specifications and require a greater quantity of water to flush the system in a manner that is consistent with public health. Sufficient evidence must be submitted to substantiate any exemption.
- Properties recognized by a federal, state or local historic registry are exempt from retrofit when authentic plumbing fixtures are present and they cannot be replaced by matching high efficiency fixtures.
Failure to Comply
If the seller fails to comply with the retrofit requirements, the buyer shall install the high efficiency plumbing fixtures within 90 days from the date of sale. Failing to obtain a Conservation Certificate may result in a notice of violation being recorded against the property; this infraction of code is punishable in accordance with the provisions of Section 1.12.040 of the Santa Cruz County Code and Capitola Municipal Code 4.04.010.
- Disclosure Form Regarding Plumbing Fixture Retrofit Regulations (Fillable PDF)
- Transfer of Responsibility to Retrofit Form
- Water Conservation Certificate Forms in triplicate are available from Soquel Creek Water District's Water Conservation Department, 5180 Soquel Drive, Soquel or your real estate agent. Questions: 475-8501 ext. 146.
If you are a Realtor, they are available at the Soquel office of the Santa Cruz County Association of REALTORS® at 2525 Main Street, Soquel.