Water Authority restricts watering to 2 days a week

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SAN DIEGO — With rain from the latest storm beginning to fall on Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors approved a series of actions in response to a recent conservation order by state water officials and a planned cutback in deliveries by the Metropolitan Water District.

The board voted to restrict the irrigation of ornamental landscaping with potable water to no more than twice a week, spend $1 million to heighten the agencies outreach efforts and conservation programs, and set supply allocations to local agencies based on the MWD reductions.

The SDCWA receives water from the MWD and Colorado River, and also stores water in local reservoirs. The water is then passed down to cities and water districts for distribution to homes and businesses.

Maureen Stapleton said the region faces “unprecedented drought conditions” that are coupled with state mandates to reduce water use.

With ironic timing, rain from the latest storm began falling in San Diego County today, with heavier precipitation forecast for early Friday morning. It could be the second significant rainfall in a week, following an otherwise dry and warm start to 2015.

The Water Authority said the storm will give people a chance to shut off their automated sprinklers and avoid irrigating their plants.

By state law, it’s illegal to irrigate landscapes during measurable rainfall and for 48 hours afterward, but as a practical matter, sprinkler systems can be left off for much longer after a significant rain event, according to the SDCWA.

Outdoor watering accounts for more than half of a typical household’s water use in the state.

State conservation mandates issued last week called for local agencies to reduce deliveries by 12 percent to 36 percent below their 2013 levels, beginning next month.

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