Water board calls for stepped-up conservation measures

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego County Water Authority Board of
Directors voted unanimously this week to call for stepped-up conservation measures
in the face of California's drought.

The board, at a special meeting, activated the agency's Water Shortage
and Drought Response Plan to preserve water reserves in case dry conditions
continue into next year and declared a “Level 1 Drought Watch.”

The CWA will inform the 24 local agencies that take its water of
voluntary guidelines such as washing paved surfaces only when necessary for
health and safety; eliminating inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff
and overspray; irrigating only before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.; and serving and
refilling water at restaurants only on request.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently declared a drought emergency across the state,
but San Diego-area officials say there will be enough water this year, thanks
to greater storage capacity and increased diversification of sources. But if
weather conditions remain dry, 2015 could be a different story, they said.

“The extraordinarily dry conditions and water supply challenges facing
our state mean it's time for each of us to go above and beyond our normal water-
saving measures,” said Thomas Wornham, chairman of the Water Authority's Board
of Directors.

“For some people, that will mean simply adjusting their irrigation
system to eliminate runoff and overspray,” Wornham said. “For others, it
could mean investing in a water-smart landscape makeover or buying a highly
efficient clothes washer. If everyone answers the call, we can stretch our
region's supplies and do our part to help the rest of the state.”

According to the SDCWA, per capita potable water use in the San Diego
area has decreased about 27 percent since 2007, and local cities and water
districts are on pace to meet their state-mandated water-efficiency targets for
2020. Total regional consumption of potable water in fiscal year 2013 was 24
percent lower than in fiscal year 2007.

San Diego imports 85 percent of its water supply.

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