Urban Water Use Declined 27 Percent Countywide During Summer Months

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Urban Water Use Declined 27 Percent Countywide this Summer
Hot September poses a challenge; turn off irrigation systems for at least 48 hours after rain
September 15, 2015

Over the first three months of state-mandated savings, the San Diego region reduced urban potable water use by 27 percent compared to the same period in 2013, beating the regional aggregate target of 20 percent. Conserved water in San Diego County is being stored locally for future use, a valuable asset should drought conditions continue into 2016 or beyond.

Urban potable water use in San Diego County fell by approximately 24 percent in August 2015 compared to August 2013, according to preliminary numbers released today by the San Diego County Water Authority. That follows a decrease of 32 percent in July and 26 percent in June compared to the same months in 2013.

August was the third month in which the State Water Resources Control Board required compliance with conservation targets set for each local water agency. State-mandated targets for Water Authority member agencies are between 12 and 36 percent below 2013 levels.

“Significant savings in the high water-use months of June, July and August mean we are in a good position to meet the state’s emergency conservation mandates that continue through February,” said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “September’s extreme heat presents a challenge, but rain this week will help maintain our conservation trend if we all turn off irrigation systems for at least 48 hours afterward.”  

Regional water conservation is mainly being achieved by reductions in landscape irrigation as residents and business comply with local water-use rules that generally limit landscape watering to two days a week. State rules prohibit landscape irrigation during, and for 48 hours after measurable rain.

As a wholesale water agency, the Water Authority coordinates drought response actions for the region. The regional drought response strategy centers on decreasing ornamental landscape irrigation first to minimize the economic disruption caused by cuts to water used by industrial, commercial and farming operations. In May, the Water Authority’s Board adopted a set of measures to help local water agencies meet the state’s water-use reduction targets. It included immediately boosting regional conservation and outreach efforts and restricting irrigation of ornamental landscapes with potable water to no more than two days a week across the region. Member agencies have the flexibility to set their own watering days and times.

For information about water-use rules by community, along with details about drought conditions and conservation-related resources, go to www.whenindrought.org.