San Diego County Water Authority declares end to drought in California

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors Thursday declared an end to drought conditions in the region, citing heavy local rainfall and snow in western mountain areas.

According to the Water Authority, precipitation at San Diego’s official reporting station at Lindbergh Field is 172 percent of average at this time. Statewide snow-water content is 193 percent of average, while the snowpack in the Colorado River Basin — where San Diego obtains some of its water — is also well above normal, the SDCWA reported.

A resolution approved by the agency’s board also calls on Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board to rescind statewide emergency water-use regulations for areas of California that are no longer facing a drought.

State water officials are expected to decide early next month whether to extend the measures, which are scheduled to expire at the end of February.

"Telling the public to continue extraordinary, emergency conservation measures when the drought emergency no longer exists undermines the credibility of state and local water agencies and erodes the effectiveness of communications during actual water supply emergencies,” said Mark Muir, chairman of the Water Authority’s board.

"The state should focus its 2017 efforts on communities that actually need help meeting water quality standards and water demands,” Muir said. "We will continue to promote water-use efficiency in San Diego County no matter the weather.”

Last year, the SDCWA certified that it had plenty of water supply to meet demand over the next few years — and that was before the winter rainfall.

Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton said continuing unnecessary statewide drought emergency regulations will hamper the region’s ability to sustain a healthy economy by undermining efforts to retain, attract and expand businesses and investment.

"We have had throughout this past drought — and continue to have — all the water necessary to meet the needs of local businesses and residents because our ratepayers made the significant investments needed to prepare for drought,” Stapleton said.

According to the Water Authority, San Diegans used 17 percent less water in the final seven months of last year, compared to the same period in 2013 — the year used as a benchmark by the state. Since 1990, per-capita water use in San Diego County is down 40 percent.

Categories: Drought Watch, Local San Diego News