San Diego

Wet Winter Weather Replenishes San Diego County's Reservoirs

But conservation and drought restrictions will not shelter San Diegans from higher water bills

With all the rain recently, San Diegans are wondering whether the severe drought in California is over and if they should continue to conserve.

Another big question—will water bills decrease?

San Diego County is primarily a water importer, so this year's wet winter weather is helping our water supply.

The snowpack from where the county gets its water from is 140 percent of the average amount, which will replenish the Colorado River Basin.

Record rain in Northern California communities is spilling over river banks while local rain is filling reservoirs.

"We don't believe the San Diego region is in a drought emergency at this time. We have adequate supplies,” Water Resource Manager Dana Friehauf said.

Still, the county water authority still urges wise water use.

"We don't have to draw all those reservoirs down as quickly because we are conserving,” Friehauf said.

But conservation and drought restrictions will not shelter San Diegans from higher water bills.

If you use less water, your provider could charge you more per volume to make up for the loss of revenue. But service and maintenance costs are fixed and less affected by supply and demand.

Some San Diegans are taking it upon themselves to conserve as much water as possible during the rainy days.

"On every 1,000 square foot of roof in a one inch rain event, you can capture 620 gallons,” said Diane Downey.

She has four rain barrels that have been filled and drained onto landscape and gardens on the property several times since the rainy season began.

"Any water that falls on our property stays on our property,” Downey said.

She added that she is more concerned with the future of fresh water in San Diego then currents costs to ship it here.

“There is only so much water from the planet we can access to drink so if we just throw it down the gutter and waste it that way then we are throwing away potential drinking water,” Downey said.

But the future of conservation and cost is at the center of much debate.

The desalination plant in Carlsbad celebrated its first anniversary in December, 2016.

The drought proof system provides seven to ten percent of the Water Authority's demand.

According to its website, operating the system adds around $5 to your monthly bill.

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