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Water Conservation Down In San Diego County

Two-thirds of water districts missed their November conservation goals

A water-efficient sprinkler sprays plants in a Chula Vista yard in this undated photograph.

Two-thirds of the water districts in San Diego County failed to reach their conservation goals in November, though cumulative savings since June remain strong, the state Water Resources Board reported Tuesday.

The area's largest water supplier to homes and businesses — the city of San Diego — failed to meet its state-mandated target of 16 percent for the first time in November. City water users saw a savings of 13.8 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

State water officials set water consumption totals in 2013 as the benchmark for comparisons.

They've acknowledged that it's difficult to find ways to cut back on water use during the cooler weather months, because people irrigate their lawns and plants less frequently, and point to the cumulative savings as a positive sign of cooperation.

"We expected the percentage drop in the cooler fall and winter months when we use less water in general, so we are still on track," said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the state Water Resources Control Board.

"The fact that per-person water use dropped to 75 gallons per person per day on average is proof that Californians are clearly thinking twice before turning on the tap," Marcus said. "As welcome as recent rain and snow are, we've been in such a deep drought that we won't know until spring whether we can let up on conservation."

Besides San Diego, local districts that missed their targets in November were Otay, city of Escondido, Vallecitos, Vista Irrigation, city of Oceanside, Helix, Rincon del Diablo, Ramona Municipal, Carlsbad Municipal, city of Poway, San Dieguito, Olivenhain Municipal, Fallbrook Public Utility, Valley Center Municipal and Santa Fe Irrigation.

Despite the lesser savings in November, most districts in the region have met their targets overall since June. (Click here for a list of how all the districts in the San Diego County and state did.)

Only the agencies with the most difficult state-mandates missed their cumulative goals, according to water board data:

• Carlsbad Municipal, with a target of cutting back 28 percent from 2013 usage, has saved 24.3 percent since June.

• San Dieguito, also with a 28 percent goal, saved 20.6 percent over the six-month period.

• Olivenhain, with a goal of 32 percent, saved 29.3 percent.

• Fallbrook, a goal of 36 percent, cut back 27. 3 percent.

• Santa Fe, target of 36 percent, reduced consumption 35.7 percent.

Gov. Jerry Brown's statewide conservation order was for a 25 percent cutback. Residents used 20.3 percent less water in November. From June through November, the cutback was 26.3 percent.

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