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New Water Restrictions in City of SD Begin

Audio

Aired 6/1/09

Starting today, residents in the City of San Diego will only be allowed to water their lawns three days a week. We speak to representatives from the San Diego Water Department and the County Water Authority about the reasons behind the new restrictions. We also speak to a local garden journalist about how people can make their landscaping more water-efficient.

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.
A sprinkler waters a California lawn.
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Above: A sprinkler waters a California lawn.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I’m Maureen Cavanaugh. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. We’re starting a little late today because, of course, President Obama and GM’s president just talked about GM’s bankruptcy filing today. We will discuss the impact of GM bankruptcy on San Diego on both car dealerships and car owners. That’s our discussion tomorrow right here in the first hour of These Days. The GM story is not the only story—big story—in San Diego today. Level 2 drought water use restrictions go into effect. They are mandatory for the city of San Diego and many other water districts in the county. San Diego County is restricting water deliveries by eight percent to all of its 23 water districts. But many of those districts have come up with their own set of water saving rules so we enter this summer with a patchwork quilt of water restrictions, restrictions that some of us do not understand and many of us are still completely unaware of. This morning, we will try to sort out some complications involved in the new mandatory water cutbacks, and we are inviting you to join the conversation with questions or comments about the do’s and don’ts of water use this summer. You can give us a call at 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. And just a program note, we’re going to continue this discussion into the ten o’clock hour so we can take your calls and really talk about these water use restrictions. I’d like to welcome my guests. They are Alex Ruiz, Assistant Director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department. Alex, welcome to These Days.

ALEX RUIZ (Assistant Director, San Diego Public Utilities Department): Thank you, Maureen. Nice to be here.

CAVANAUGH: And Dana Friehauf, a Priniciple Water Resources Specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority. Dana, good morning.

DANA FRIEHAUF (Water Resources Specialist, San Diego County Water Authority): Good morning. Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Now let me start with you, Alex, and just tell us what are the details of these new mandatory water use restrictions that are now in effect as of today in the city of San Diego.

RUIZ: Well, basically, within the city, effective today, we’re going to restrict an individual’s use of water and primarily in the irrigated landscape setting. And these restrictions are making mandatory those things that we’ve been under – asking for folks to comply with on a voluntary basis. They have to do with number of days per week that you can irrigate, the time of day that you irrigate, and the duration of your irrigation. For residential customers, we’re asking them to comply with the three-day-a-week watering schedule. If you’re an even numbered address, it’s Saturday, Monday and Wednesday; if you’re an odd numbered address, it’s Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. We’re asking folks to water before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m., and if you’re using an automated sprinkler system, to eliminate your – duration of your irrigation to no more than ten minutes.

CAVANAUGH: And there are restrictions on car washing, as well.

RUIZ: That’s correct. We ask folks to comply with the same time of day restrictions when it comes to washing your car. We actually are – prefer that our customers wash their car at a commercial carwash but if you’re doing it at home, do it before 10:00 a.m., after 6:00 p.m. and do it with a hose that has a positive shutoff nozzle.

CAVANAUGH: Now when we talked before, earlier this year, Alex, then the city of San Diego was contemplating a different kind of mandatory water cutback, and that sound – sounded more severe. It had to do with increased water rates. Tell us a – a little bit about what was thought earlier in the year and why that has changed.

RUIZ: Earlier in this year, we were anticipating that the supply cutback from our wholesalers, County Water Authority and Met, would be as much as twenty percent reduction. With that kind of a cutback, the water fund was in severe jeopardy if it did not get to that 20% level in terms of a penalty to the wholesalers for overuse. So in response to that, we had planned for a allocation based reduction program, that is where we gave each property owner a bucket of water, a quantity of water based upon historic usage at that property over which they could not use without suffering from a penalty. Because now we’re looking at somewhere between – between a eight or a ten percent reduction, we think that we can get to that level of reduction with our customers adhering to these mandatory water use restrictions and in recognition of the fact that under our voluntary call, we did get a five percent reduction from those customers.

CAVANAUGH: Now let me bring Dana into the conversation. As I said, Dana Friehauf is Principle Water Resources Specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority. And tell us, if you would, what kind of situation we are in now waterwise in San Diego. What’s happening to our main water sources?

FRIEHAUF: Great, thank you, Maureen, appreciate the opportunity. Yes, starting July first we will have cutbacks from our major water supply source, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Now that cutback’s going to be about 13% to the San Diego County Water Authority. Because of our excellent diversification efforts, investing in local supplies and water transfers, we’re going to see about an eight percent cut to our retail agencies like the City of San Diego. Now the – the three main reasons why we’re having these cutbacks in our supply from the Metropolitan Water District is because, basically, we’re in the third year of a drought. We have another dry – we had another dry year this past year and, therefore, our storage levels are also low in the – the major reservoirs that serve us. And then most importantly, we have the regulatory restrictions on our deliveries from Northern California. So those three reasons are – are the – are – are why we are facing these cutbacks from Metropolitan Water District. Now the Water Authority, in response to that and these uncertainties that we’re going to be facing over the course of the year, we did, to lessen the impact, we improved – we approved using some of our – our – our short term transfer supplies from Northern – that we secured from Northern California. We established allocations for our retail agencies like the City of San Diego and they will be penalized if they go over those allocations. And then we also declared a Level 2, which enabled the agencies to then move to Level 2 and enact mandatory restrictions if – if they so choose to use that tool to help live within their allocation.

CAVANAUGH: We are talking about the mandatory water use restrictions that go into effect today for the city of San Diego and many other water districts around San Diego. We’re taking your calls, 1-888-895-5727. And, Dana, I read that the plan that San Diego has adopted to 10 minutes a day, three times a week, is actually a recommendation by the County Water Authority. Is that correct?

FRIEHAUF: Well, what the Water Authority did last year is we adopted a model ordinance. We wanted to have some consistency throughout the region on the restrictions and the levels. I’m happy to say that all of our retail agencies did update their ordinances to have four levels, so that helps with the media to know that, hey, we’re all going to Level 2. They did vary the type of restrictions they had at each level. But for the most part, they are – they are consistent in – in three days a week and the 10 minute limit, for example. Unfortunately, they may vary a bit and that’s why we encourage all our listeners to go to either our website or go – if they don’t know their agency, or go to the local agency’s website to determine specifically what restrictions apply in their service area because you may have different days to water than – than the city of San Diego, for example.

CAVANAUGH: You may have different days to water, you may actually be getting the bucket of water approach that Alex was talking about instead of having these landscaping restrictions. There are actually a lot of different variations on the kind of water use restrictions in the different water districts. And I’m wondering, Dana, why did that happen? I mean, are all of these districts free to do basically anything they want to?

FRIEHAUF: Well, usually the districts have their own governing bodies that need to look at their service area and the characteristics of their service area and how they’re doing in conservation as far as vol – voluntary steps, and determine what’s best for their region. I would say, though, that the majority of the agencies do have – will have mandatory restrictions in place. There are a few that are going to be able to try to achieve savings through pricing. I know in the Otay Water District service area, which is City of Chula Vista and some un – unincorporated areas, they’re going to look at pricing in – in order to get their savings. But most of the agencies will have some type of mandatory restrictions going in place.

CAVANAUGH: Right. Let’s take a phone call. We are taking your calls. The number to join the conversation is 1-888-895-5727, and we go to Eric in La Jolla. Good morning, Eric. You’re on These Days.

ERIC (Caller, La Jolla): Thank you. I’d like to comment on what the man said a few minutes ago about how if we go to allocation, those people who’ve been wasting the most water will be getting the biggest allocation based on their historical use of water. So I’ve been conserving water for years on my property; my neighbor’s been dumping it down the drain, washing his car in the driveway and hosing his driveway down. And when it comes time to allocate, I’m the one who’s going to get punished with a lower limit and he’s going to get rewarded for being so wasteful. How is that even remotely fair? And what is that going to motivate me to do the next time these restrictions are lifted? I should go out and waste as much water as I can so that the next time we have restrictions, I’ll get a bigger allocation.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you, Eric, for that call. And – But Eric’s in La Jolla, so that’s the San Diego Water District, so no allocation, right?

RUIZ: There is no allocation. We had been developing an allocation plan if the percentage reduction was going to be a lot higher than what it currently is. The listener did indicate some concern that we – customers had expressed about the allocation methodology and we were refining our – our methodology as we went forward. But at this point in time, we don’t expect to have the allocations as a mechanism by which to achieve that eight percent reduction. We’re going with the water use restrictions I described earlier.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Alex, I’ve spoken with a lot of people who are bright, intelligent people and they don’t know about these water use restrictions. They don’t understand them. They – It hasn’t been explained to them, it hasn’t been publicized in a way that’s really gotten their attention. What is the city going to do to make residents aware of these mandatory water use restrictions?

RUIZ: We’ve been out in the community for the last several weeks telling folks, in open forums, about these coming use restrictions. In addition, the mayor has been out in the community noting the use restrictions and when they will be applicable. I will be leaving shortly to another event at the Metropolitan Transit System headquarters where we’ll describe the water use restrictions and the fact that they’re now in place. You – They’ll see buses that are wrapped and advertised with our City of San Diego campaign, ‘No time to waste, no water to waste’. They’ll see that theme in a variety of forms, including media outlets, newspaper articles. We are really pushing the message that folks need to think about using water more efficiently, not wasting water. We have gotten a lot of positive response from that messaging campaign. Folks are coming up to me and saying, hey, I – I didn’t know these were coming, I appreciate the information going out so dramatically. So we understand that that was an issue perhaps in the past with regard to our voluntary call for water conservation but certainly over the next two months, customers should expect to see a more public media outreach in that matter.

CAVANAUGH: Are people going to see anything in their water bills? Are they going to – where – where – how are this – how is this outreach actually going to take effect?

RUIZ: We will have information in everybody’s water bill. That is our standard, everyday communication stream that we use to keep in contact with our customers and let them know what’s going on with regard to the water business. But, in addition to that, augmenting that, we will have a number of advertisements that we will be placing in a variety of media. We’ll have billboards. We’ll have, as I mentioned, the trolley wraps and the bus wraps. We’ll have banners that we have pulled along the beaches during the summer months to remind folks to constantly remind folks, this is not a place nor a time when we can afford to waste water.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take a call, and Kathy is in San Diego. Good morning, Kathy, and welcome to These Days.

KATHY (Caller, San Diego): Thank you. Yeah, I just have a quick question for the City of San Diego representative. You had listed the days that folks are allowed to water their lawns but I believe that’s only for single family residences, and can you please clarify the days that multiple dwellings, such as condos, are able to water their lawns. And I can take my answer off the air. Thanks.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you.

RUIZ: Yeah, that’s a good question. For commercial properties as well as multi-family properties, condo associations and apartments, the watering schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We have that in recognition of the fact that most of these types of properties have their maintenance performed during the week. And, whereas, single family residential customers have a day on Saturday where they can calibrate their irrigation system and look at how they’re watering without the pressures – daily pressures of work and so forth. The multi-family, the apartments and the commercial property owners typically don’t have that resource available on the weekends so we provided the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule for those.

CAVANAUGH: And, Dana, I’m wondering, as – as we start out on these new mandatory water use restrictions, and – and you, of course, are a water specialist for San Diego County, can we expect these restrictions to stay in place for the foreseeable future? Or is this a temporary plan for this summer?

FRIEHAUF: Well, I think that because of the uncertainties we face as far as weather in the coming wet season and also the regulatory restrictions from our supplies from Northern California, we could be facing restrictions for the next few years. If we don’t – For example, if we have another dry year, I’d say we’re very likely to have restrictions continuing on in – into next – the following year also. So because of the uncertainties we face that we think over the next few years there could be a likelihood of continued restrictions, we are taking steps to, again, try to diversify our supplies more. We hope to have seawater desalination online by 2012, (clears throat) excuse me, increase our transfer deliveries. So all of that will help but in the next few years it – it could be – there’s a lot of uncertainties.

CAVANAUGH: And quickly before we take a break here, Alex, I wanted to know: Who or what? What – is there anything that is exempt from these restrictions in the city of San Diego?

RUIZ: Specific exemptions might apply if an individual submits a hardship variance. We have a process within the muni code where folks, if they – if they feel that these restrictions create an undue burden on them, that they can apply for that variance. The bar for us, from the City of San Diego’s perspective, granting that variance is going to be pretty high. A number of customers have said that this is going to be hard to do and I agree but just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s – it’s going to qualify for a hardship variance. But there’s a process in place where customers can submit an application, describe their particular situation, the restrictions that they feel they cannot comply with, and we will evaluate that. And provided we can get to the amount of reduction that – target that we otherwise would be hitting at the property, then there’s a possibility that we can grant a variance under those situations.

CAVANAUGH: Now I want to let everyone know that we are going to continue our discussion about the mandatory water use restrictions. We’re going to go right through the break and right through the news and come back with my guests, Alex Ruiz, he’s Assistant Director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department, and Dana Friehauf, she’s Principle Water Resources Specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority. And we are going to continue to take your calls about the new water use restrictions that are going into effect for San Diego, going into effect today for San Diego. And we will also be joined by garden journalist Nan Sterman. She’s going to tell us about how San Diego outdoor water restrictions will affect landscaping. So give us a call at 1-888-895-5727. If you are on the line, please stay on the line. We will be taking your calls when These Days continues in just a few minutes.

[ break ]

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I’m Maureen Cavanaugh, and you’re listening to These Days on KPBS. Well, we’ve been hearing about the potential for mandatory water conservation in San Diego for a long time and finally that day has dawned. We’re continuing our – our conversation about water use restrictions that go into effect today for the city of San Diego. Those restrictions mainly involve landscape watering and the – the variance on those restrictions that go into effect in most other water districts in the county. My guests are Alex Ruiz. He’s Assistant Director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department, Dana Friehauf, a Principle Water Resources Specialist of the San Diego County Water Authority. I want to welcome both you back to These Days after our break. And welcome Nan Sterman, our new guest, garden journalist and author of California Gardener’s Guide, Volume II. Nan is also host of “A Growing Passion,” which airs at 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays on Channel 4 San Diego. Nan, thanks for joining us.

NAN STERMAN (Author/Garden Journalist): My pleasure. Thanks for asking me.

CAVANAUGH: You know, Alex, I – I do want to complete our conversation about these new mandatory water restrictions. In fact, since it’s a new hour and we’re starting again, why don’t you tell us exactly what those outdoor water use restrictions are for the city of San Diego.

ALEX RUIZ (Assistant Director, San Diego Public Utilities Department): For the city of San Diego, we’re asking folks to adhere to three primary elements: the numbers of days per week that they could water, three days per week max, the time of day that they could water, before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m., and for the duration of time, the irrigation be limited to no more than 10 minutes. And that’s for your normal sprinkler system. If you have a – a microchip irrigation system or if you stream rotors or other efficient devices then the durations – limits do not apply but you have to comply with the time of day and the – the day of week watering. For our single family residential customers, the days of the week are, for even numbed addresses, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. For odd numbered addresses, that is a Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday schedule. And for commercial properties, multi-family properties, HOAs, that is a Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule that we’re asking them to comply with.

CAVANAUGH: Alex, what are the penalties? Will there be penalties for people who violate these water restrictions?

RUIZ: Yes, there will. They (sic) will have to be penalities – For those situations where folks just don’t want to comply for whatever reason and we expect that we’re going to encounter some individuals like that. However, we do know that most of our customers are going to comply once we make contact with them and explain to them the use restrictions more – more carefully and more clearly. Our enforcement will be progressive. We will issue letters to individuals where we observe water use restriction violations taking place or whether we – or when we receive reports from neighbors or passers-by about a water use restriction violation. We’ll track that. On a second notice for the property for a violation then we will go out and actually make contact with the property owner or call the property owner so that way we can understand exactly what it is about compliance that the customer may be having problems with. It could be an elderly couple who just is kind of confused about the regulations and have been trying to reset the irrigation controllers, so we’ll try to help them in those situations. But, ultimately, for individuals who don’t comply, we will have to go down an enforcement process which could result in fines ranging from a hundred dollars to a thousand dollars per violation. We need to get folks’ attention that this is something they need to comply with.

CAVANAUGH: We are taking your calls on the new mandatory water use restrictions in San Diego. The number is 1-888-895-5727, and on the line, Martha in San Diego. Good morning, Martha.

MARTHA (Caller, San Diego): Yes, good morning.

CAVANAUGH: You’re on These Days. What can – How can we help you?

MARTHA: Yes, can you hear me all right?

CAVANAUGH: We can.

MARTHA: Okay. I am on a cell phone, not driving. I’m very frustrated because I think all these restrictions on our water are well and good. On our street, daily, 24/7, there is water running down the street. I have received the brochures and the circulars in the mail about numbers to call to get things like this taken care of. I have called two or three, four numbers and everyone passes the buck.

CAVANAUGH: And…

MARTHA: There seems to be nothing I can do. And aside from the fact that we’re wasting water, the water that’s going down the street is eroding our street.

CAVANAUGH: Martha, do you know where this water is coming from?

MARTHA: I don’t know exactly. Point Loma is quite hilly. It could be from, I think maybe, somebody’s pool in a street above. There are a lot of easements in the area. Perhaps that’s where it’s coming from but I see it all the time. We’re all kind of concerned about this water.

CAVANAUGH: Well, Martha, thank you so much for calling in. And, Alex, I just have to ask you, is the city going to really sort of crack down on this kind of thing and follow up on things like this because these new water restrictions are – are in effect?

RUIZ: Yes, absolutely. We have always been concerned about leaks as they’re being reported to our agency. And for our listeners, that number that they can report these leaks to would be 619-515-3525. Running down the source of these leaks can be very difficult at times. You might find a private property irrigation system that’s leaking and that’s leaking underground and it’s very hard to track that back in some situations. But whenever we get reports of leaks in the field or we get reports about our own infrastructure, the City of San Diego public infrastructure, leaking, we will be aggressively moving forward to that because we recognize that we have to be leaders in this as well. If we expect our customers to be saving, we need to be on the forefront of that kind of savings.

CAVANAUGH: Dana, I want to ask you, from the San Diego County Water Authority, there – we’ve heard what the details are of the city of San Diego’s water use restrictions. But these are not the same water use restrictions as in other water districts throughout the county. And I know that you don’t know the exact details of all the water districts but I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about some of the plans you are familiar with and how they differ in approach to what we’ve been hearing from Alex.

DANA FRIEHAUF (Water Resources Specialist, San Diego County Water Authority): Great, thanks, Maureen. Yeah, because I think it is so important for our listeners to contact their local districts again and find out what restrictions apply in their service area. I think most of the agencies are going to have the three-day a week watering with the 10 minute restriction. The days may vary, so that’s why it’s important that you contact your local agency. But I – but for the most part, again, most will have these mandatory restrictions. As I mentioned, the City of Chula Vista and that area, Otay Water District, they’re looking at pricing as the mechanism by which to get people to conserve. So – But for the most part, I think that the – some general form of restrictions are going to be in place.

CAVANAUGH: And can they go to San Diego County Water Authority at least to find out which water district they’re in?

FRIEHAUF: Yeah, I would encourage them to go sdcwa.org and we have a link there right to – to the – a map that shows our service area and where they can find their local district.

CAVANAUGH: Nan, I want to bring you into the conversation, and thank you so much for waiting. I really appreciate it today. And I wonder, just because you’re – you’re a specialist in gardens, I’ve heard conflicting ideas about whether or not this three-day-a-week, 10 minutes per watering overnight, is that going to be enough to keep San Diego landscape green?

STERMAN: Well, the proof will be in the pudding. You know, certainly in the coastal area that should be enough. Once you get inland, Valley Center, Escondido and – and El Cajon, those areas, it might be a little more difficult. But I think a lot of people’s main concern is their lawns, and three days a week, 10 minutes a day, that should be pretty darn good.

CAVANAUGH: And you were telling me that there’s some difference between sprinklers and drip irrigation.

STERMAN: Yes, absolutely. Sprinklers put out water on a scale—overhead sprinklers—of gallons per minute. Drip irrigation puts out water on the scale of – of gallons per hour. So what you can put out with an overhead sprinkler system in 10 minutes is a significantly larger amount of water than if you have a drip irrigation system, which is presumably the reason why these restrictions don’t apply the same way to drip irrigation because you need to run drip irrigation for a long time in order to get enough water to wet your plant roots, which, of course, is what the point of all irrigation is, is to keep – is to wet the roots. The roots are what take water up from the soil and carry it out through the rest of the plant. So unless you’re watering lawn, really, overhead sprinklers don’t make much sense because a lawn is an even, low surface so you can – you can irrigate that fairly well with overhead. But if you have shrubs and perennials and trees and such, it’s really hard to get water to the roots by spraying it up in the air and hoping it falls in the right place. So one thing people can think about as we go, you know, further into this reality of water restrictions is converting their landscape irrigation from overhead sprinklers to drip irrigation. It’s much, much more efficient and you never have issues of runoff and you never have issues of overspray, so it’s a very efficient way to do things.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take a caller. John is in Coronado. Good morning, John and welcome to These Days.

JOHN (Caller, Coronado): Yes, this is a Skype phone. Can you hear me?

CAVANAUGH: Yes, very well.

JOHN: Okay, very good. Yes, we’re in Coronado. We travel a bit. We’ve done what we can here. We haven’t watered our remaining Bermuda grass in eighteen months. We went to Cuyamaca College, we took Nan’s course on how to kill your Bermuda grass. We bought dimondia, which she says after two years you don’t have to water at all. I’ve installed several hundred feet of black plastic tubing and microsprinklers and all that kind of stuff and I had it set for every three days, 72 hours, for 15 minutes, and it’s working fine but I’m going to be a victim of technology here because there’s no way that I can set my timers for three days out of seven. I can do it in even numbers so, technologically, either I’m going to have to spend a lot more money on timers with better brains or I’m going to have to be a technological scofflaw.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, what about that, Alex? Have you heard concerns about this kind of thing that John’s talking about?

RUIZ: Yes, we have. In some situations, we have customers who report that they are having difficulty with their schedule controllers and setting them on the proper time of day. We appreciate that. We don’t want to make things overly burdensome for our customers but we feel that in order to get everyone on the same schedule, the same requirements, we do have to provide some uniformity to our customers, and most controllers should be able to handle the kind of scheduling that we’re looking at. Unfortunately, it might be that in some cases, individuals will have to manually trigger or activate their – their irrigation controllers.

CAVANAUGH: Let me take a call from Susan in San Diego. Good morning, Susan. You’re on These Days.

SUSAN (Caller, San Diego): Good morning. Yes, I – I live in San Diego and we’ve done all the proper things. We’ve removed our grass and now we have drought resistant plants but we’ve just put them in less than a year ago, and we don’t water a lot. Sometimes I go out and water by hand. But we have many different stations around the house, from the front to the side to the back. Are the restrictions per station?

RUIZ: Yes, the duration of irrigation applies per station, so that’s 10 minutes per ir – per irrigation station is what we’re asking folks to comply with unless they’re using a – an efficient irrigation system like microdrip as we’ve been discussing.

CAVANAUGH: Does that help you, Susan?

SUSAN: It really does. Thank you so much. We water much less than three times a week and certainly less than 10 minutes per – per station so…

RUIZ: Excellent.

SUSAN: …we’re well under that.

CAVANAUGH: You know, in the remaining minutes we have left, I – I really do want to address this question because a lot of people I’ve talked to are concerned about this and I’m going to be asking you, Dana, because you’re from the County. In restricting water like this, especially outdoor irrigation, does this potentially increase San Diego’s fire danger during this fire season? Because there will be, one would imagine, browner lawns, browner landscaping.

FRIEHAUF: Well, I think that in regard to the – the ordinance and such, I think there can be—and – and Alex may be able to address this, too—you know, some variances for if you need the plants for fire protection because, again, that is so important for – for our community to have that to be safe. So I believe most of them will – you know, you can come in if it’s required – the fire – I know the fire departments will often require you to have certain plantings. So I think, and I don’t know if Alex wants to comment further on that, but I believe…

CAVANAUGH: We actually…

FRIEHAUF: …he can…

RUIZ: Well…

CAVANAUGH: Oh, if you can do it really quickly, Alex.

RUIZ: Yeah, Da – Dana’s correct. The – our ordinance recognizes that there are fire requirements that homeowners will have to comply with and we’re not going to be working at cross purposes in that regard.

CAVANAUGH: I want to thank you all. We do have to leave right now. We will, I’m sure, be talking about this as the season goes on. My guests, Alex Ruiz, Assistant Director of the San Diego Public Utilities Department, Dana Friehauf, Principle – a Principle Water Resources Specialist for the San Diego County Water Authority, and garden journalist Nan Sterman. Thank you so much for being with us. And thank you, everyone who called and tried to get in. You’ve been listening to These Days on KPBS.

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