New Water Restrictions Take Effect for the City of San Diego. Here's What to Know

Under Level 2 restrictions, washing vehicles at home is prohibited, as well as using irrigation within 48 hours of rain

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The city of San Diego has started implementing severe water restrictions for all customers, which will affect such household tasks as watering grass and washing cars for at least a year.

The State Water Resources Control Board, citing instruction from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, has adopted the emergency water conservation regulation by asking water agencies at the local level to take swift action in conserving California's water.

As such, city of San Diego water customers will be taking on Level 2 restrictions outlined in the city's Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

Water restrictions under Level 2 include all the following actions for San Diego customers:

  • Irrigation is prohibited during and within 48 hours of rain 
  • Watering lawns is limited to three days per week before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. This does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries, nor to the irrigation of golf course greens and trees
  • Washing of vehicles at residences is prohibited. Washing is still permitted at commercial car washes
  • Areas with no irrigation system must use a hand-held hose with a shutoff nozzle, a hand-held container or a garden-hose sprinkler system on a timer 
  • Use of recycled or non-potable water, when available, is required for construction purposes

The city's new water restrictions apply not only to homes but also to facilities and properties. They will remain in effect for one year.

“We are asking San Diegans to take these steps now so we can help avoid a more dire situation in the near future,” said Juan Guerreiro, director of San Diego's Public Utilities Department. “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.” 

The city offers multiple rebates for rain barrels and gutters, turf replacement, irrigation control systems and gray-water systems, among others. Tips from the city can also help customers use less water inside their homes.

NBC 7's Dana Griffin shares ways Californians can cut down on their water usage.

San Diego officials said it is working with every city department to adopt the water conservation practices. The city has already switched landscapes at municipal facilities into hardscapes, used drought-resistant plantings and has been using water-saving devices in new and renovated buildings such as libraries and fire stations.

Extreme drought conditions in Northern California and throughout the west have required all Californians to do their part in reducing water use. The majority of San Diego's water is bought from the San Diego County Water Authority.

San Diego city spokesman said the city's supply of water was stable, but that didn't mean that conservation efforts should not be undertaken.

”We can’t just live thinking we can be wasting water," Ysea said. "We need to remember that we do live in a desert climate, and we always have to have restriction messages in mind. That’s something we’ve always done in the San Diego region.”

Awareness of water usage is important Ysea, including taking shorter showers.

"This is an educational outreach effort," Ysea said. "We’re asking folks to be careful with their water consumption. We’re not looking to ticket people.”

In order to diminish the city's reliance on imported water, it's working to create drought-proof supplies sourced locally, like the Pure Water Program, which seeks to secure almost 50% of the city's drinking water by 2035.

If you spot water waste happening, you can report it through the city's Get It Done app, call 619-533-5271 or email waterwaste@sandiego.gov.

”If we see something grossly negligent, of course, we will look into that but for the most part it’s just educating residents,” Ysea said.

For more information on Level 2 water restrictions, rebates and water-saving tips, visit www.wastenowater.org

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