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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

CA water demands could skyrocket

A report out today predicts that the demand for water in California will skyrocket as homeowners move inland. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps explains.

Rather than consider problems of supply, the Public Policy Institute report looks at changing patterns in demand. The report says California's drier, hotter, inland regions, including those in San Diego County, are becoming more populated. And the rise of single-family homes in those areas means more thirsty lawns.

The study's author, Ellen Hanak, says the focus of water conservation has shifted since the early 90s, when California faced a severe drought.

Hanak: "A lot of the focus initially was more on indoor conservation, especially things like fixing leaks and switching out thirsty toilets for low-flow toilets. But over the last few years there's been a real effort put on outdoor conservation efforts by the utilities, and this is especially true down in Southern California."

Hanak says homeowners and businesses should consider more low-water landscaping and smarter irrigation. This week the San Diego County Water Authority called for reductions in outdoor water use, warning that a shortage is possible.

For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

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