SAN DIEGO — San Diegans have been good at conserving water in recent years but will have to step up their game because of the statewide drought, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria said Wednesday.
“I need to thank all of you for your successful efforts over the past several years to save water and I need to ask you to continue your conservation and even challenge you to ramp it up, given the significant water supply challenges facing our state,” Gloria said. “We live in a beautiful city, but it’s one with a dry climate, and we need to accept conservation as a permanent way of life.”
This is the third dry winter in a row in California and snowfall has been light in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which provides the state with most of its water. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked residents to cut back water use by 20 percent, and state officials have halted deliveries from the State Water Project.
Gloria said he will resurrect the city’s Water Consumption Report Card and provide regular updates on how San Diegans are doing in cutting back their usage.
He suggested residents check for leaks, consider replacing inefficient appliances, and take part in the free water survey program, in which a city representative will go to a home and suggest ways of reducing consumption.
Homeowners should water their lawns only two or three times a week and be vigilant for broken sprinkler heads, the mayor said.
Water officials in San Diego have said that mandatory conservation measures, such as those implemented during the last drought in 2009, will not be necessary for now because the local water supply is stable.
Halla Razak, director of the city’s Public Utilities Department, said the region has 2 1/2 times more water storage capacity than five years ago, and receives twice as much water from the Colorado River.
Also today, the City Council’s Environment Committee voted unanimously to expand the city’s participation in programs that allow residents to finance energy and water conservation upgrades through their property tax assessments.
San Diego Coastkeeper, a non-profit organization that aims to protect fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters warned that the voluntary measures are quite good enough.
“As water importers, we have a responsibility to conserve when our end-of-pipe habits have devastating effects rippling throughout the western United States,” said Waterkeeper Matt O’Malley about San Diego’s impacts on the Colorado River Basin and the Sacramento Bay Delta. “We import over 80 percent of our water from outside the region, which means the low snow pack and the drying Colorado River have major implications on our water supply.”