The City of San Diego began implementing its most stringent water restrictions to date on Friday following new orders and regulations from both Governor Gavin Gavin Newsom and the State Water Resource Control Board.
According to an announcement from the city, San Diego will be following the state Level 2 Water Shortage Contingency Plan as well as the City of San Diego Water Contingency Plan. Beginning on Friday, all San Diego water customers must use a hand-held hose with shutoff nozzle, hand-held container or a garden hose sprinkler system on a timer if there is no irrigation system present. Any irrigation will also not be allowed within 48 hours of a “rain event”.
In addition, landscape irrigation will be limited to only 3 times per week either before 10 A.M. or after 6 P.M. to avoid a high amount of water evaporation due to the heat, although commercial growers, commercial nurseries, and golf course greens and trees will remain exempt. Those in construction will be required to use only recycled or non-potable water when available. And finally, all residents will be barred from washing their car at home, with car washing only being permitted at commercial car wash establishments.
While many of the new restrictions are focused on residents, the city must also follow the same regulations for their own properties and facilities. The emergency regulation will be in place for at least one year, with San Diego also offering rebates to homes and businesses for putting in water saving measures such as rain barrels and gutters, turf replacement, and other water saving options.
More restrictions in San Diego
“We are asking San Diegans to take these steps now, so we can help avoid a more dire situation in the near future,” explained San Diego Public Utilities Department Director Juan Guerreiro on Friday. “Water is a precious resource and we must use our water wisely. We hope San Diegans will take the new restrictions to heart and take advantage of the range of rebates and water saving tips offered.”
Sweet Water Authority General Manager Carlos Quintero, who oversees water usage in many San Diego suburbs, added, “It’s not easy to achieve, it’s certainly a monumental task. Our customers are doing a great job in taking water use very seriously and really adjusting to reduce their water use. The numbers do add up. As water agencies, we have to look at the whole aggregate. Every little bit counts.”
Others have noted that despite San Diego not being in nearly in as much trouble as Northern California is now and has enough water for now, it’s not known how long the drought is to go for or if some water sources could be denied later on in the coming next few years.
“We need to be smart with water usage,” Lyle Oliver, a water control expert who has helped villages and cities on three continents survive droughts, told the Globe on Friday. “SoCal, for as much as they use water, have managed to not waste tons of water or environmental reasons. Some is still used for environmental reasons, but in general that plus over a century of tapping in water sources have helped them survive. San Diego even has some pretty important features like desalination plants and a huge water recycling program and drought-resistant (Pure Water Program). So while they are putting these restrictions up, they are obviously doing this now to keep future water intact.”
“It’s going to be a bit restrictive in the next year or two, but right now California looks like they can get out of this if they play it smart.”
Further restrictions in San Diego, as well as other areas of the state, may occur if the drought becomes more prolonged.
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