Although California’s governor has made overtures to conserve water, most of the water districts in San Diego County are already ahead of the game.
Gov. Gavin Newsom recently asked everyone to try to conserve up to 20% of their water as the state endures another drought. The Sweetwater Authority in San Diego’s South Bay area, however, said it’s 200,000 customers are already ahead of those savings.
“We’ve been able to manage this drought pretty well so far because of our local investments and local resources,” said Doug Roberts, a program manager for Sweetwater.
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The local investments include upgraded equipment and desalination. The Sweetwater Authority was the first water agency in San Diego County to desalinate groundwater for drinking water. The San Diego County Water Authority said it and its member agencies have invested billions of dollars in expanded reservoirs, water purification and desalination. SDCWA also said residents have trained themselves to conserve water over the years, adding up to a total of 40% savings.
“We never really get out of a default drought setting,” Roberts said.
Beyond simply using less water indoors, people like Paul and Bernice Rodriguez saved a lot of water outside by removing the grass around their Chula Vista home and planting drought-tolerant plants that thrive in low-water conditions.
“In the dry season, I will only water my landscapes once every three weeks,” said Paul while standing amid the colorful plants in his front yard, adding, 'you have to plan for the future."
The couple won Sweetwater Authority’s WaterSmart Landscape Contest in 2021. The water district is currently holding the 2022 contest.
Paul said it’s one of the easiest ways to save a good amount of water.
“It’s a lifestyle in Southern California,” he said.