Councilmembers Propose Mandatory Water Restrictions for SD

Two city officials claim San Diego has to conserve more or suffer the consequences

San Diego's voluntary water restrictions could soon become mandatory as temperatures again start to climb toward the triple digits.

Monday night, two city councilmembers said the city has to do more to conserve water or suffer the consequences.

"The state is looking to conserve 20 percent of our water. We're not really hitting the mark there,” said Councilman David Alvarez.

He said with a voluntary water use restrictions already in place, the city of San Diego is only conserving about 4 percent of water. It is the main reason why Alvarez and Councilman Ed Harris want to make the voluntary restriction into a mandatory one.

"It's really dry and we need the rain, so I understand that it's tough out there,” said homeowner Russell Berkley.

His family has already made changes by cutting down watering from ten minutes to six, explaining "during the summer you need at least six minutes or your grass turns brown and then it's not worth watering at all.”

The San Diego County Water Authority is already under a "Drought Alert" which mandates 20 percent conservation. Among the measures currently in place for businesses within the county area: offering table water to patrons only on request, offering hotel guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily, watering only during the late evening or early morning hours and repairing all leaks within 72 hours.

Alvarez said they've been warned by the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies half of the city's water, that they might have to go to a rationing system if changes are not made soon.

Right now, the City of San Diego is at a Level 1 "Drought Watch," meaning residents are asked to water their yards before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., use automatic shut-off nozzles on hoses and not to wash sidewalks and driveways unless necessary.

Moving into a Level 2 "Drought Alert," residents would be forced to abide by Level 1 restrictions, could only irrigate three days a week and would have to stop fountains unless recycled water is used.

At Spot Free Rinse, a carwash in Pacific Beach, people are constantly using water. They understand the sacrifice.

“I think keeping my car clean is not a top priority. I think the situation we're in with drought and water shortage should come first,” said Victor Park

“Every little bit makes a difference. So it all adds up, We're ready, willing and able to do our own part,” said James Clarkston.

Alvarez said the last time San Diego had mandatory water use restrictions in place, residents saved 14 percent of their water.

This is just a recommendation, so it will go to the Environment Committee next week. If it passes there, the proposal will go to the city council.

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