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San Diego County Continues To Reduce Water Consumption

San Vicente Reservoir in East County is part of San Diego's network of emerge...

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: San Vicente Reservoir in East County is part of San Diego's network of emergency water storage supplies. It was recently doubled in size to ensure the region has a six month supply of water in the case of an emergency or future drought, though it remains less than half full because of a lack of rainfall, July 16, 2014.

Customers in most of the two dozen water districts in San Diego County continued to reduce consumption in November, though not by as much as the same month in the prior year, according to data released Wednesday by state water officials.

While state conservation mandates resulting from a multi-year drought have been lifted, officials are keeping an eye on usage figures since several areas of the state remain relatively dry.

On Tuesday, the Sierra snowpack was determined to be only 70 percent of normal for early January despite recent wet weather. Heavy snow fell in the area early today, however.

“Californians are continuing to conserve, which is the way it should be, given that we can't know what the future will bring, but we know that we can't take water for granted anymore,'' said state Water Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus.

“With climate change already creating water supply challenges that will only get worse and state population projected to exceed 40 million by 2020, we all need to become more efficient with our limited water supplies year in and year out,'' Marcus said. "Increased water efficiency coupled with new storage, recycling, stormwater capture and other measures is going to make us more resilient over the long-term.''

Staff plans to present draft conservation regulations, which could include a return to mandated cutbacks if dry conditions persist or conservation slips, to the Water Board on Jan. 18. Public comments on the staff proposal will be accepted, and the board could act next month.

In November, statewide water use was 18.8 percent lower than the same month in 2013, the standard set by water officials. The reduction in November 2015 was 20.2 percent.

Customers receiving water from the city of San Diego reduced their use by 7.3 percent in November, compared to the same month in 2013. The reduction, though, is half that of November 2015.

In some other area districts:

-- the Vista Irrigation District reduced consumption by 3.4 percent in November, about one-quarter of the savings from the same month the year before;

-- Otay Water District, 4.3 percent, less than one-quarter of its November 2015 savings;

-- Carlsbad Municipal Water District, 10.1 percent compared to 17.6 percent;

-- Helix Water District, 7.4 percent compared to 10.1 percent;

-- Sweetwater Authority, 7 percent compared to 18.7 percent; and

-- Padre Dam Municipal Water District, 5.4 percent compared to 21.9 percent.

Cumulative savings from the San Diego County districts since regulations went into effect remained strong, however.

The San Dieguito Water District and city of Escondido both saved more water this past November than the same month in the prior year.

Customers with the city of Oceanside, Santa Fe Irrigation District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District used more water than the 2013 same-month standard, according to the state data.

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