If you live in the Bay Area, you may be wondering does San Francisco have hard water.
Contrary to what many people believe, San Francisco actually has relatively soft water, with an average hardness of around 47 ppm. This means that the water contains low levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium that can cause issues with taste and buildup.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the water quality in San Francisco and discuss the water hardness, where the city gets its water, how much it uses, and a lot more.
So, if you’re curious about the hardness of your water and what you can do about it, keep reading!
Read my article about water hardness in other cities.
Table of Contents
Does San Francisco Have Hard Water
San Francisco’s water is considered relatively soft, with a hardness of 47 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm). If you prefer the units grains per gallon (gpg), San Francisco tap water hardness is 3 gpg.
To put that into perspective, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) defines water with less than 60 ppm as soft. This means that San Francisco’s water falls well within the range of soft water, and homeowners should not experience the negative effects associated with hard water.
California Water Hardness
California is a state that relies heavily on surface water and groundwater to provide drinking water for its residents. Surface water comes from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, while groundwater is obtained by drilling wells into underground aquifers. California’s drinking water is regulated by the California Department of Public Health, which sets strict standards for water quality and safety.
As for water hardness, it can vary greatly across the state due to the different geological formations and sources of water. For example, areas with limestone or dolomite formations may have higher levels of hardness, while areas with granite or sandstone formations may have softer water. However, on average, California’s water is considered moderately hard, with levels ranging from 60 to 180 ppm.
The table below summarizes the water hardness in Los Angeles and the major cities and towns in California.
|City||Average Hardness Calcium Carbonate mg/L||Average Hardness Grains per Gallon||Zip Code|
|San Francisco||47 ppm||3 gpg||94112 | 94110 | 94122 | 94109 | 94116 | 94117 | 94121 | 94134 | 94118 | 94124 | 94115 | 94114 | 94132 | 94102 | 94131 | 94107 | 94103 | 94133 | 94123 | 94127 | 94108 | 94105 | 94158 | 94129 | 94111 | 94130 | 94104 | 94128|
|Los Angeles||127 ppm||7 gpg||90011 | 90044 | 90003 | 90026 | 90019 | 90022 | 90037 | 90042 | 90006 | 90004 | 90066 | 90001 | 90034 | 90018 | 90002 | 90063 | 90046 | 90024 | 90057 | 90047 | 90025 | 90065 | 90032 | 90033 | 90023 | 90016 | 90059 | 90027 | 90043 | 90007 | 90045 | 90005 | 90020 | 90031 | 90036 | 90029 | 90049 | 90012 | 90062 | 90008 | 90028 | 90039 | 90041 | 90035 | 90038 | 90061 | 90017 | 90064 | 90048 | 90015 | 90068 | 90040 | 90013 | 90077 | 90014 | 90056 | 90089 | 90010 | 90021 | 90058 | 90067 | 90073 | 90071 | 90079 | 90095|
|Anaheim||127 ppm||7 gpg||92804 | 92805 | 92801 | 92802 | 92806 | 92807 | 92808|
|Bakersfield||80 ppm||5 gpg||93307 | 93306 | 93312 | 93309 | 93308 | 93313 | 93304 | 93311 | 93305 | 93314 | 93301|
|Bellflower||230 ppm||13 gpg||90706 | 90707|
|Buena Park||236 ppm||14 gpg||90620 | 90621 | 90622 | 90623 | 90624|
|Burbank||271 ppm||16 gpg||91501 | 91502 | 91504 | 91505 | 91506|
|Chino||188 ppm||11 gpg||91710 | 91708|
|Chula Vista||194 ppm||11 gpg||91911 | 91910 | 91913 | 91915 | 91914|
|Coachella||140 ppm||8 gpg||92236|
|Compton||219 ppm||13 gpg||90059 | 90220 | 90221 | 90222 | 90223 | 90224|
|Corona||353 ppm||21 gpg||92882 | 92880 | 92879 | 92883 | 92881|
|Cresent City||59 ppm||3 gpg||95531|
|El Monte||270 ppm||16 gpg||91732 | 91731|
|Fontana||104 ppm||6 gpg||92355 | 92336 | 92337|
|Fountain Valley||199 ppm||12 gpg||92728|
|Fountain Valley||200 ppm||12 gpg||92708|
|Fremont||158 ppm||9 gpg||94536 | 94538 | 94539 | 94555|
|Fresno||123 ppm||7 gpg||93722 | 93727 | 93720 | 93702 | 93726 | 93706 | 93711 | 93705 | 93703 | 93710 | 93704 | 93725 | 93728 | 93723 | 93730 | 93701 | 93721 | 93650|
|Fullerton||254 ppm||15 gpg||92833 | 92831 | 92832 | 92835|
|Garden Grove||119 ppm||7 gpg||92840 | 92843 | 92841 | 92844 | 92845|
|Gilroy||236 ppm||14 gpg||95020|
|Glendale||259 ppm||15 gpg||91205 | 91206 | 91201 | 91202 | 91204 | 91208 | 91203 | 91207 | 91210|
|Hemet||192 ppm||11 gpg||92544 | 92545 | 92543|
|Huntington Beach||240 ppm||14 gpg||92647 | 92646 | 92648 | 92649|
|Inglewood||293 ppm||17 gpg||90301 | 90302 | 90303 | 90304 | 90305 | 90306 | 90307 | 90308 | 90309 | 90311 | 90312|
|Irvine||152 ppm||9 gpg||92620 | 92618 | 92612 | 92604 | 92614 | 92602 | 92606 | 92603 | 92617|
|La Habra||255 ppm||15 gpg||90631|
|Laguna Niguel||273 ppm||16 gpg||92607 | 92653 | 92677|
|Lake Forest||274 ppm||16 gpg||92609 | 92610 | 92630 | 92679 | 92691|
|Livermore||100 ppm||6 gpg||94550 | 94551|
|Long Beach||137 ppm||8 gpg||90805 | 90813 | 90806 | 90815 | 90802 | 90804 | 90808 | 90810 | 90803 | 90807 | 90814 | 90822 | 90831|
|Lynwood||262 ppm||15 gpg||90262|
|Mecca||393 ppm||23 gpg||92254|
|Mendocino||101 ppm||5 gpg||95460|
|Menifee||93 ppm||5 gpg||92584 | 92585 | 92586 | 92587|
|Mission Viejo||274 ppm||16 gpg||92653 | 92690 | 92691 | 92692|
|Modesto||224 ppm||13 gpg||95355 | 95350| 95351 | 95358 | 95356 | 95354 | 95357|
|Newport Beach||274 ppm||16 gpg||92603 | 92617 | 92625 | 92651 | 92657 | 92658 | 92659 | 92660 | 92661 | 92662 | 92663|
|Norwalk||267 ppm||16 gpg||90650 | 90651 | 90652 | 90670|
|Oakland||140 ppm||8 gpg||94601 | 94602 | 94603 | 94605 | 94606 | 94607 | 94609 | 94610 | 94611 | 94612 | 94613 | 94618 | 94619 | 94621|
|Oceanside||168 ppm||10 gpg||92057 | 92056 | 92058 | 92054|
|Orange||108 ppm||6 gpg||92867 | 92869 | 92868 | 92865 | 92866|
|Oxnard||285 ppm||17 gpg||93033 | 93030 | 93036 | 93035|
|Pasadena||255 ppm||15 gpg||91104 | 91107 | 91103 | 91106 | 91101 | 91105|
|Pico Rivera||241 ppm||14 gpg||90660|
|Rancho Santa Margarita||274 ppm||16 gpg||92679 | 92688 | 92692|
|Redding||31 ppm||2 gpg||96003 | 96001 | 96002 | 96049|
|Redondo Beach||370 ppm||22 gpg||90277 | 90278|
|Riveside||71 ppm||4 gpg||92503 | 92504 | 92507 | 92505 | 92506 | 92508 | 92501|
|Roseville||191 ppm||11 gpg||95661 | 95678 | 95747|
|Sacramento||150 ppm||9 gpg||95823 | 95828 | 95822 | 95831 | 95833 | 95835 | 95838 | 95826 | 95825 | 95820 | 95821 | 95842 | 95824 | 95834 | 95829 | 95815 | 95864 | 95818 | 95827 | 95841 | 95819 | 95816 | 95817 | 95832 | 95814 | 95811 | 95830 | 95837 | 94574|
|Salinas||160 ppm||9 gpg||93906 | 93905 | 93901 | 93907 | 93908|
|San Bernardino||249 ppm||15 gpg||92407 | 92404 | 92410 | 92405 | 92411 | 92408 | 92401|
|San Clemente||274 ppm||16 gpg||92672 | 92673 | 92674|
|San Diego||241 ppm||15 gpg||92154 | 92126 | 92105 | 92114 | 92115 | 92117 | 92113 | 92130 | 92129 | 92128 | 92111 | 92127 | 92122 | 92109 | 92104 | 92102 | 92101 | 92139 | 92103 | 92131 | 92116 | 92124 | 92123 | 92107 | 92110 | 92120 | 92119 | 92108 | 92106 | 92121 | 92140 | 92145 | 92135 | 92147 | 92155 | 92134 | 92132|
|San Jose||132 ppm||8 gpg||95123 | 95127 | 95111 | 95112 | 95122 | 95116 | 95125 | 95124 | 95148 | 95136 | 95132 | 95129 | 95121 | 95120 | 95128 | 95126 | 95118 | 95131 | 95117 | 95133 | 95134 | 95135 | 95138 | 95110 | 95130 | 95119 | 95139 | 95113|
|Santa Barbara||391 ppm||23 gpg||93101 | 93105 | 93103 | 93111 | 93110 | 93109 | 93108|
|Santa Clarita||271 ppm||16 gpg||91350 | 91390|
|Santa Maria||235 ppm||14 gpg||93453 | 93458 | 93455 | 93454|
|Santa Monica||114 ppm||7 gpg||90405 | 90403 | 90404 | 90402 | 90401|
|Stockton||194 ppm||14 gpg||95206 | 95207 | 95209 | 95210 | 95205 | 95219 | 95204 | 95212 | 95215 | 95203 | 95202 | 95211|
|Sunnyvale||300 ppm||17 gpg||94087 | 94086 | 94085 | 94089|
|Temecula||152 ppm||9 gpg||92592 | 92591 | 92590|
|Torrance||427 ppm||25 gpg||90248 | 90277 | 90278 | 90501 | 90503 | 90504 | 90505 | 90506 | 90507 | 90508 | 90509 | 90510|
|Tracy||143 ppm||8 gpg||95376 | 95377 | 95391 | 95304|
|Turlock||115 ppm||7 gpg||95380 | 95382|
|Tustin||312 ppm||18 gpg||92780 | 92782|
|Union City||89 ppm||5 gpg||94587|
|Upland||150 ppm||9 gpg||91784 | 91786|
|Vacaville||183 ppm||11 gpg||95687 | 95688|
|Valencia||268 ppm||16 gpg||91354 | 91355|
|Vallejo||129 ppm||8 gpg||94589 | 94590 | 94591|
|Ventura||666 ppm||39 gpg||93001 | 93003 | 93004|
|Victorville||31 ppm||2 gpg||92392 | 92394 | 92395|
|Visalia||81 ppm||5 gpg||93277 | 93291 | 93292|
|Vista||161 ppm||9 gpg||92081 | 92083 | 92084|
|Walnut Creek||78 ppm||5 gpg||94595 | 94596 | 94597 | 94598|
|Watsonville||252 ppm||15 gpg||95076|
|West Corvina||150 ppm||9 gpg||91790 | 91791|
|West Sacramento||65 ppm||4 gpg||95605 | 95691|
|Westminster||239 ppm||14 gpg||92683|
|Whittier||260 ppm||15 gpg||90601 | 90602 | 90603 | 90604 | 90605 | 90606|
|Woodland||63 ppm||4 gpg||95695 | 95776|
|Yorba Linda||274 ppm||16 gpg||92808 | 92885 | 92886 | 92887|
|Yuba City||58 ppm||3 gpg||95991 | 95993|
What is Hard Water?
Hard water is water that contains high levels of dissolved minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. These minerals are naturally occurring and are found in many water sources. Hard water can be a problem for homeowners because it can cause issues with plumbing, appliances, and personal hygiene.
What are the problems caused by hard water?
One of the most common problems caused by hard water is mineral buildup in pipes, appliances, and fixtures. Over time, these minerals can accumulate and reduce water flow or even cause blockages. Additionally, hard water can reduce the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, leading to soap scum on dishes and clothing. Hard water can also leave spots on dishes and shower doors and cause a filmy residue on skin and hair, making it feel dry and itchy.
Another problem with hard water is that it can affect the efficiency and lifespan of household appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers, and washing machines. The minerals in hard water can cause scale buildup in these appliances, reducing their efficiency and causing them to break down more quickly.
Overall, while hard water is not necessarily harmful to your health, it can cause a variety of problems. If you’re experiencing problems related to hard water, there are solutions available, such as water softening systems or specialized cleaning products.
Who is San Francisco’s Water Provider?
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is responsible for providing water to the city of San Francisco and surrounding areas. The SFPUC is a department of the City and County of San Francisco and is responsible for managing the city’s water supply, wastewater treatment, and power generation.
San Francisco’s water comes from two main sources: the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park and the local groundwater basin. The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir provides approximately 85% of the city’s water supply and is one of the few unfiltered municipal water supplies in the country. The SFPUC is committed to providing high-quality drinking water to its customers and regularly tests the water to ensure that it meets state and federal standards. If you have questions or concerns about San Francisco’s drinking water, you can contact the SFPUC for more information.
Where Does San Francisco Water Come From?
San Francisco’s water comes from two main sources:
- Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
- local groundwater basin
The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is located in Yosemite National Park and is fed by the Tuolumne River. The reservoir holds over 300 billion gallons of water and provides drinking water to over 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The local groundwater basin is located in the San Francisco Peninsula and provides water to the western portion of the city, including the Sunset District and the Outer Richmond. The groundwater basin is recharged by rainwater and is managed by the SFPUC to ensure that the water is safe and of high quality.
San Francisco’s water supply is considered to be one of the most reliable and high-quality in the country.
Is San Francisco’s Tap Water Treated?
Yes, San Francisco’s tap water is treated to ensure that it is safe to drink. The SFPUC uses a combination of treatment methods to remove impurities and contaminants from the water. Here are some of the treatment methods used:
- Coagulation and Flocculation: This process involves adding chemicals to the water that cause particles to clump together and form larger, easier-to-remove particles.
- Sedimentation: The clumped particles then settle to the bottom of a tank, where they can be easily removed.
- Filtration: The water is then passed through filters that remove smaller particles and impurities.
- Disinfection: To kill any remaining bacteria or viruses, the water is disinfected using chlorine, ozone, or ultraviolet light.
- Fluoridation: Finally, fluoride is added to the water to help prevent tooth decay.
These treatment methods are highly effective at removing impurities and contaminants from the water and ensuring that it is safe to drink. The SFPUC regularly tests the water to ensure that it meets state and federal standards for drinking water quality.
Quality of San Francisco Tap Water
The quality of San Francisco’s tap water is regularly monitored and tested by the SFPUC to ensure that it meets or exceeds state and federal drinking water standards. The water is sourced from the pristine Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and the local groundwater basin, which are both located in protected areas with minimal human activity.
In addition to being safe to drink, San Francisco’s tap water is also known for its taste and quality. The water has won numerous awards for taste and quality, including the prestigious “Best Municipal Water” award at the 2008 Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting.
San Francisco’s tap water is also considered to be one of the most sustainable sources of drinking water in the country. The SFPUC is committed to protecting and preserving the natural resources that provide the city’s water supply, and invests in projects to increase water conservation and reduce waste.
How Much Water Does San Francisco Use Each Year?
According to the SFPUC, San Francisco uses an average of 62 million gallons of water each day, which amounts to about 22.6 billion gallons of water each year. This water is used for a variety of purposes, including drinking, cooking, cleaning, irrigation, and industrial uses.
Despite its large population, San Francisco’s per capita water usage is relatively low compared to other cities in the United States. The SFPUC has implemented a number of water conservation measures to reduce water usage, including offering rebates for high-efficiency toilets and washing machines, providing free water-saving devices to customers, and promoting water-efficient landscaping practices.
In addition to reducing water usage, the SFPUC is also focused on reducing water waste and increasing the use of recycled water. The agency has implemented a number of projects to increase the use of recycled water for irrigation and industrial uses, and is exploring new technologies to further increase the use of recycled water in the future.
California Water Use and Consumption in Statistics
California is the most populous state in the United States, and also one of the driest. As a result, water use and conservation have long been major issues in the state. Here are some statistics about water use and consumption in California:
- California has a population of over 39 million people, which is expected to grow to 45 million by 2050.
- On average, Californians use about 85 gallons of water per day, which is lower than the national average of 100 gallons per day.
- Agriculture is the largest user of water in California, accounting for about 80% of all water use in the state.
- The urban sector, which includes residential, commercial, and industrial uses, accounts for about 20% of all water use in California.
- California has a complex system of water rights and allocations, with some areas of the state having abundant water supplies while others are chronically short of water.
- Droughts are a recurring problem in California, with severe droughts occurring in 2007-2009, 2012-2016, and 2021.
Given the importance of water to the state’s economy and environment, managing and conserving California’s water resources is a top priority for policymakers and residents alike. The state has implemented a number of water conservation measures, including restrictions on outdoor watering and incentives for water-efficient appliances and fixtures, to help reduce water usage and ensure a reliable water supply for future generations.
What Can I Do About Hardness in My Water
If you live in an area with hard water, there are several steps you can take to reduce its impact on your home and appliances. Here are some options:
- Install a Water Softener: A water softener is a system that removes the minerals that cause hard water. This can help to reduce buildup in pipes, appliances, and fixtures, and make your water easier on your skin and clothes.
- Use a Hard Water Shampoo: If you’re experiencing dry, brittle hair due to hard water, using a shampoo specifically designed for hard water can help. These shampoos contain chelating agents that bind to the minerals in hard water, removing them from your hair.
- Add Vinegar to Your Laundry: Hard water can make your clothes look dull and feel stiff. To combat this, add a cup of white vinegar to your laundry during the rinse cycle. This will help to remove the minerals that cause hard water buildup, leaving your clothes soft and clean.
- Install a Reverse Osmosis Filter: A reverse osmosis filter can help to remove some of the minerals that cause hard water. While a filter won’t completely eliminate the problem, it can help to reduce buildup and improve the taste of your water.
- Use a Water Conditioner: A water conditioner is similar to a water softener, but instead of removing the minerals that cause hard water, it changes their structure so that they don’t adhere to surfaces as easily. This can help to reduce buildup in your pipes and appliances.
Final Take on San Francisco’s Water Hardness
The quality of drinking water is an essential aspect of our daily lives. San Francisco’s water has a hardness level of 47 mg/L, which is considered soft. The city’s water is treated through several processes to ensure it meets the EPA’s standards for drinking water. However, it’s essential to note that despite the treatment process, there may still be some contaminants that remain in the water.
Homeowners can take steps to reduce the impact of hard water by installing a water softener, using hard water shampoos, adding vinegar to laundry, installing a water filter or conditioner. Remember that clean, safe, and pure drinking water is crucial for our health and well-being, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that we take the necessary steps to maintain it.