Water Authority Equips Restaurants to Show Commitment to Water Conservation

Short Title
Restaurants to Show Commitment to Water Conservation
New table-top tents offer reminders to conserve water during statewide drought

In conjunction with the 10th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week, the San Diego County Water Authority and leading restaurant industry associations are distributing thousands of table-top tents to remind patrons that water is only being served upon request to save more water now in case serious drought conditions continue into 2015.

The tents, developed by the Water Authority and the local chapters of the California Restaurant Association and the Food & Beverage Association, are part of the regional outreach campaign “When in Drought: Save every day, every way.” They are being placed at restaurant tables and bars around the county.

“We’re proud to work with the food and beverage industry to promote water conservation and help more people become aware of how local businesses are helping our region save more water,” said Mark Weston, Chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors.

More than 180 eateries participate in San Diego Restaurant Week. More information is at www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com.

 “Serving water only on request is a visible sign of water conservation efforts that our members have made in day-to-day operations that patrons rarely see,” said Chris Duggan, director of local government affairs at the San Diego County chapter of the California Restaurant Association. “These table-top tents will serve as reminders about the need for everyone to do their part.”

At the Food & Beverage Association of San Diego, President and CEO Stephen Zolezzi said members are eager to use the tents, which can double as conversation starters. “A safe and reliable water supply is critically important to our industry – from the crops grown at local farms to preparing food and drinks for our guests,” he said. “We’re asking residents to join us as we look for ways to trim water use while maintaining the quality of life that defines our region.”

The table-top tents were funded by a drought response grant from the state Department of Water Resources.

As a wholesale water agency, the Water Authority plays an important role in coordinating drought response actions for San Diego County. The current Drought Alert condition calls for local water agencies to implement water-use restrictions if they have not already done so. Local rules vary based on regulations adopted by the Water Authority’s member agencies. The When in Drought web page, whenindrought.org, includes links to member agency websites with details about water-use restrictions in communities across the region.

With mandatory water-use restrictions in effect, the Water Authority is working to spread the word about drought conditions with many stakeholders in the community, including key business groups, civic and environmental organizations, service clubs, faith-based groups, property management and landscaping companies, HOAs and others.

While some California communities have faced reduced water deliveries for months, the San Diego region has avoided them because of two decades of investments to diversify and improve the reliability of the region’s water supply sources, investments in Southern California reservoir storage and countywide water conservation efforts.

The Water Authority is not anticipating cutbacks to its imported water supplies this year that would trigger mandatory supply cutbacks to its member agencies. Allocations could happen in 2015 if conditions don’t improve, but regional investments in water supply reliability such as independent Colorado River water transfers and the Carlsbad Desalination Project will help offset the impacts of any supply reductions.