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San Diego County Water Authority Mulls Added Conservation Efforts

The San Diego County Water Authority announced Monday that its Board of Directors will consider calling for stepped-up conservation measures in the face of California's drought.

The board, at a special meeting Thursday, will consider adopting voluntary guidelines such as washing paved surfaces only when necessary for health and safety; eliminating inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff and overspray; irrigating only before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.; and serving and refilling water at restaurants only on request.

The two dozen local agencies that are customers of the water authority would be notified of the action.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently declared a drought emergency across the state, but San Diego-area officials say there will be enough water this year, thanks to greater storage capacity and increased diversification of sources. But if weather conditions remain dry, 2015 could be a different story, they said.

"This region has planned for dry periods and embraced water conservation as a way of life, but during these extraordinary times, each of us must take steps to use only the water that we need and conserve wherever we can," said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the Water Authority.

According to the SDCWA, per capita potable water use in the San Diego area has decreased about 27 percent since 2007, and local cities and water districts are on pace to meet their state-mandated water-efficiency targets for 2020. Total regional consumption of potable water in fiscal year 2013 was 24 percent lower than in fiscal year 2007.

San Diego imports 85 percent of its water supply.

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