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San Diego County Water Authority, Coastkeeper Trade Barbs Over Conservation

Photo caption:

Photo by Associated Press

The Carlsbad Desalination Plant, the largest seawater desalination plant in the U.S., is shown in this aerial view, Sept. 4, 2015.

County Water Authority, Coastkeeper Trade Barbs Over Conservation


Mark Weston, chair, San Diego County Water Authority

Matt O’Malley, policy director, San Diego Coastkeeper


The San Diego City Council on Tuesday loosened some of its water restrictions, including limits on watering lawns, based on projections the city has enough water supply to weather continued drought.

The decision followed a similar move from the San Diego County Water Authority last month, which said it wouldn't impose mandatory water use cuts through the end of January. The region already has enough water to meet demand through three more years of drought, according to the Water Authority. The state imposed mandatory cuts over the past year, but is now allowing regional water agencies to stop mandatory conservation if they have enough water.

San Diego Coastkeeper attacked the Water Authority's decision in a Voice of San Diego editorial last week, arguing the agency was fighting to get the region "hooked" on water use.

"Why?" wrote Coastkeeper executive director Tracie Barham in the editorial. "It is the public agency that sells us our water; its member agencies bring in more money when we waste water and less money when we conserve water."

Water Authority chair Mark Weston responded Monday in his own editorial, calling Coastkeeper's argument "incomplete at best by only focusing on draconian water conservation measures."

Weston and Coastkeeper policy director Matt O'Malley join KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday to continue the debate over San Diego water conservation efforts.


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