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San Diego Tightens Water Restrictions To Meet State Conservation Goal

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The drought in California prompted San Diego leaders to step up conservations efforts this week, ordering residents and businesses to cut back on outdoor watering.

The drought in California prompted San Diego leaders to step up conservations efforts this week, ordering residents and businesses to cut back on outdoor watering.

The new regulations allow for watering two days a week for five minutes. This is down from three days a week for 10 minutes. The goal is to reach the state’s mandate to reduce consumption in San Diego by 16 percent.

Halla Razak, director of San Diego's Public Utilities Department, said the city implemented the new regulations to help it reach the state mandate. On Wednesday, the State Water Resources Control Board reported that the city reduced its water consumption by 26 percent in May compared to May 2013.

“We have looked at our water use and 60 percent of the water use is outdoors,” Razak told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. “Our biggest impact would be curtailing that water use or lowering it. If everybody in San Diego followed the rule, irrigating no more than two days a week, then in fact we will achieve our goal.”

Travis Pritchard, programs director for San Diego Coastkeeper, thinks cities aren’t doing enough to enforce regulations.

“Enforcement is spotty,” Pritchard said. “There’s still a lot of low-hanging fruit in the low conservation world.”

He also said jurisdictions can fix public areas to conserve water — like leaking fire hydrants.

“If we really want to see real changes, those need to come from the jurisdictions itself,” Pritchard said.

The city's turf replacement rebate program also resumed Wednesday. There is more than $1 million available for residents who tear out their lawns and replace them with drought-tolerant landscaping.

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