Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Injustice

Drought Could Result In Water Reduction Mandates

Water in a sink inside a bathroom at Lake Poway, Dec. 2, 2019.

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Water in a sink inside a bathroom at Lake Poway, Dec. 2, 2019.

Continued droughts are forcing the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to ask water agencies to voluntarily conserve water.

Jeff Stephenson, the water resources manager for the San Diego County Water Authority, said the county is decades ahead in conservation practices.

Listen to this story by Alexandra Rangel.

“Here in San Diego we have a great history of water efficiency. We cut water use per person in half over the last 30 years,” he said.

The supply alert comes a day after the first ever water shortage was reported on the Colorado River.

Although that shortage mostly affects Nevada and Arizona, San Diego does receive 60% of transfer water from the Colorado River.

“What puts us in a better position versus other parts of the state, especially Northern California, is 30 years ago when we started diversifying our water supplies,” Stephenson said.

Over the years, he said San Diego went from having two water supplies to a multitude of sources that include reservoirs, recycled water, and groundwater.

Stephenson said we’ll be facing a real inconvenience if voluntary reductions become state mandates for everyone across the board.

“It’s too soon to tell if that’s going to happen, but if the state were to do that, we’d like them to offer the stress test again so that we can show this model we created that the rest of the state can emulate. That we diversified our supplies and are prepared for droughts,” he said.

Stephenson said we’ll have to wait and see if we’ll be hit with a reduction mandate in the months to come, but for now he encourages San Diegans to continue using water efficiently.

Reported by Alexandra Rangel , Video by Alexandra Rangel

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Photo of Alexandra Rangel

Alexandra Rangel
Freelance Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a freelance reporter covering the latest news and issues surrounding the San Diego community. I’m always looking to shed light on issues that would otherwise go unreported.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.