San Diego County residents will need to permanently curtail their water use under an order issued today by Gov. Jerry Brown that bans activities such as hosing off sidewalks and requires urban suppliers to continuing producing monthly reports on water-reduction efforts.
The order calls for long-term implementation of temporary water conservation measures put in place to combat the ongoing statewide drought, with Brown pointing to some parts of the state that are still dealing with dry conditions and the likelihood of continued water shortages.
“Californians stepped up during this drought and saved more water than ever before,” Brown said. “But now we know that drought is becoming a regular occurrence and water conservation must be a part of our everyday life.”
Brown’s order permanently bans practices such as hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hard surfaces; using hoses without shut-off nozzles to wash cars; allowing runoff to occur when watering lawns; and failing to re-circulate fountain water.
Urban water suppliers like the city of San Diego and Helix Water District will also need to provide monthly reports about water use, conservation and enforcement.
The order also instructs the State Water Resources Control Board to tweak water conservation rules by January and create emergency restrictions for the next year.
Sandy Kerl, deputy general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, called on state water regulators to take into account “regional differences in water supply and demand to ensure the best approach to long-term drought management” across the state.
“San Diego County can be a model for drought-resiliency efforts in California,” Kerl said.
“The San Diego County Water Authority has aggressively pursued water conservation and water supply reliability investments for the past 25 years,” she said. “Water-use efficiency is a way of life here, with per capita potable water use down by about 40 percent since 1990 and a strong commitment by residents who view water conservation as a civic duty.”
Since water-conservation mandates were imposed by Brown in June 2015, customers in San Diego County have cut their use by a cumulative 21 percent compared to the same period beginning in June 2013 — the baseline year used by the state to measure savings.
State water officials recently lowered the regional goal to 13 percent, after the opening of a desalination plant in Carlsbad added to local supply.
Across California, residents have cut their use by 23.9 percent since June 2015 — just below Brown’s call for a 25 percent reduction.