Thursday, March 5, 2009
San Diego residents are not conserving enough water and may soon face mandatory rationing, Mayor Jerry Sanders warned again today.
The mayor's warning follows Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent declaration of a statewide drought emergency.
"Everyone in California, especially here in San Diego where nearly 90 percent of our water comes from imported sources, must fundamentally change the way we think about and use water," Sanders said.
The mayor's office cautioned that the city as a whole has fallen short of conservation goals and may soon face "painful" mandatory restrictions on water use.
Sanders has directed the Water Department to develop a plan for rationing to be implemented on July 1.
"I understand how unsettling talk of water allocations may seem," the mayor said. "But, given the governor's request for an immediate 20 percent reduction in water use and his mention of potential mandatory cutbacks, I think everyone can now see what a serious issue this is for San Diego and the state as a whole."
Sanders first announced the potential for water rationing in San Diego in January, when the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies most of the city's water supplies, said it will have to slash deliveries to the region by as much as 20 percent.
Back then, Sanders said San Diego residents had cut back on their water use by only about 5 percent since he raised the alarm over a year ago by declaring a "stage 1" water emergency.
Despite the recent rains, California has experienced several years of drought. That, combined with recent restrictions on the amount of water that can be pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to protect an endangered fish, means likely shortages.
Sanders' announcement was made at a Tierrasanta home that achieved substantial water savings due to the installation of drought-resistant landscaping.