San Diegans fall short in water conservation goals in February

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Here's a poignant reminder I saw out in the Navajo Nation in Arizona - folks who know something about water conservation.

SAN DIEGO — Customers of about half of the water districts in San Diego County used more water in February than the same month in 2013, mirroring a statewide trend toward less conservation, state water officials announced Monday.

In all, Californians failed to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s order to cut back on water use by 25 percent. In the nine months since state mandates went into effect last June, residents reduced their use by 23.9 percent, compared to similar months in 2013, according to state data.

“Twenty-four percent savings shows enormous effort and a recognition that everyone’s effort matters,” said State Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus. “Californians rose to the occasion, reducing irrigation, fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, and saving our precious water resources in all sorts of ways.”

She said February’s dip in conservation was due to the month’s generally warm and dry conditions.

According to state figures, customers of the Rainbow Municipal Water District in the far North County used 39.1 percent more water in February than the same month three years ago. However, Rainbow customers have cut back consumption by 41.9 percent overall since the state mandates took effect in June.

Most districts in San Diego County surpassed their state targets cumulatively over the nine-month period. Those that fell short were generally those with the highest goals, 28 percent or more.

They included the Fallbrook Public Utility District, San Dieguito Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Carlsbad Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, Santa Fe Irrigation District, city of Poway, Valley Center Municipal Water District and the city of Oceanside. The last three barely missed their targets.

The city of San Diego, the region’s largest water supplier, reduced consumption by 0.9 percent in February and 18.6 percent overall since June. The city’s reduction target is 16 percent.

The state has adopted new water conservation goals, which were designed to allow flexibility among the various agencies, and took into account enhancements to the water supply in the San Diego region.

Marcus said the statewide water supply is “better than last year,” but still below average in much of California. She urged residents and businesses to continue their conservation efforts.

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