Skip to main content

Water Resources

Over the past centuries of urbanization in the Bay Area, the region has experienced periods of both abundant rainfall and severe drought. Residential water consumption rises and falls depending on current water availability, but with the region’s population continuing to grow and water resources being somewhat finite, consistent water conservation practices in Burlingame will moderate impacts when the next drought occurs.

Maintaining consistently high water quality also requires constant attendance to best management practices. Like other Peninsula cities, Burlingame has many creeks and streams that flow into San Francisco Bay. Federal and State water quality laws work to protect these resources, and Burlingame’s responsibility lies in ensuring local practices are state-of-the-art, particularly with regard to using low-impact development, or LID, infrastructure improvements to set the example for water resource protection.

Goal: HP-6

Protect local and regional water resources through conservation, preservation, and sustainable management practices.

Protect and maintain the water quality of the four creek systems and watersheds (Burlingame Creek, Easton Creek, Mills Creek, and Sanchez Creek) that course through the city and drain into San Francisco Bay. Participate in regional efforts, such as the Bay Area Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, to protect Burlingame’s waterways and maintain water quality. 

Development Review Agency Coordination

Promote best practices for water conservation throughout the city, and continue to enforce City ordinances requiring high-efficiency indoor water fixtures in new development. Educate the public about Burlingame’s water rebate programs, and continue to establish tiered water rates that promote water conservation. Consider water consumption when evaluating development projects. Encourage drought-tolerant landscaping and efficient irrigation systems. 

Development Review Public Information and Education

Regularly measure and monitor water quality in Burlingame’s surface water to ensure maintenance of high-quality water for consumption. 

Services and Operations

Promote recycled water use to the extent such resources are available. Work to allow graywater and rainwater catchment systems in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Establish a recycled water plan and implement a recycled water program associated with the Wastewater Treatment Facility, when financially feasible. 

Services and Operations Master Plans Development Review

Work with public and private property owners to reduce stormwater runoff in urban areas, manage stormwater as a resource, and protect water quality in creeks and the Bay. Require implementation of best management practices to reduce accumulation of non-point source pollutants in the drainage system originating from streets, parking lots, residential areas, businesses, and industrial operations. 

Development Review Agency Coordination Partnerships with the Private Sector

Continue to follow requirements for the Municipal Regional Stormwater and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit to monitor stormwater activities, reduce pollution from stormwater runoff, and provide annual reports on compliance activities. 

Development Review Agency Coordination

Identify opportunities to upgrade and improve the City’s stormwater conveyance system (MS4). 

Services and Operations

Continue to enforce Burlingame’s Water-Efficient Landscaping Ordinance, and promote the use of native, drought-tolerant landscaping. Educate the public about the Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guidelines and other resources for water-efficient landscaping. 

Development Review Public Information and Education

Adopt and implement a Green Infrastructure Plan in accordance with the Municipal Regional Stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit. Incorporate green infrastructure into streets and rights-of-way wherever practicable, including curb extensions, flow-through planters, and bioswales that slows stormwater runoff by dispersing it to vegetated areas, harvests and uses runoff, promotes infiltration and evapotranspiration, and uses bioretention to clean runoff. 

Development Review Master Plans Studies and Reports Services and Operations

Regulate new development and construction to minimize pollutant and sediment concentrations in receiving waters, and ensure surface water discharged into the San Francisco Bay meets or exceeds relevant regulatory water quality standards. Require new development to incorporate Low Impact Design features that treat and reduce surface runoff volumes. 

Development Review

Use Low Impact Development approaches as upgrades are made to City-owned facilities such as streets, parks, and storm drainage infrastructure. 

Development Review Master Plans Services and Operations

Educate residents about the environmental effects of dumping household wastes and motor oil into storm drains that eventually discharge into San Francisco Bay. 

Public Information and Education