The San Diego County Water Authority voted Thursday to activate Level 1 of its six-part Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which asks San Diegans to voluntarily conserve 10% of their water use.
The vote from the agency's 36-member Board of Directors came after Gov. Gavin Newsom extended a drought emergency declaration statewide last week to add eight counties that were previously excluded, including San Diego, as the western U.S. entered its third year of drought.
The declaration -- activated twice before in 2007 and 2014, required water suppliers to implement their water shortage contingency plans, however, the Water Authority said it was already planning to implement its plan before the declaration was extended.
As part of Level 1, San Diegans will be asked to voluntarily conserve up to 10% of their water use. The Water Authority will also step up its outreach and education efforts to promote conservation.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
The water authority urged San Diegans to go to watersmartsd.org to find ways to conserve water. The agency has programs like water-efficient landscape classes for both residents and professionals, rebates for water-saving devices, rebates for turf replacements and more.
Senior Water Resources Specialist Goldy Herbon said San Diego currently has enough supplies to support our region, thanks to investments in seawater desalination, water recycling and water storage. However, she said it’s still important that we all do our part to conserve.
“This is to ensure that should worsening drought conditions persist, we save the water that we do have so that we’re not in a worst-case scenario later,” Herbon said.