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San Diego County Water Managers Want Conservation Rules Tweaked

Water runs down a sidewalk on Adrian Street in Point Loma after the grass was watered by automatic sprinklers, April 10, 2015.
Katie Schoolov
Water runs down a sidewalk on Adrian Street in Point Loma after the grass was watered by automatic sprinklers, April 10, 2015.

San Diego Water Managers Want Conservation Rules Tweaked
State officials are changing California's water conservation rules and San Diego officials hope some local factors are taken into account.

San Diego County water managers hope state officials consider more than just conservation as they tweak the governor's urban conservation mandates for next year.

Written comments on the planned revisions are due at the State Water Board by noon on Wednesday.

Most of San Diego County's water agencies have met the tough conservation goals set by state officials. Agencies are required to cut water use between 12 and 36 percent compared to what they used in 2013.

The region has largely met that goal, hitting aggregate savings of 26 percent. But state officials are adjusting the rules in the second year of the governor's conservation mandate.

The San Diego County Water Authority argued water conservation history and planning should be taken into account. They also want the development of new water sources, like desalination, to be figured into the equation.

"In meeting your total reduction target, you'd have a minimum of eight percent conservation and the remainder of whatever adjustments you need to make in your particular area could be done through new sources of supply," said Sandy Kerl of the San Diego County Water Authority.

San Diego has enough water at this point to meet local needs, but Kerl said agencies are forced to endure deep cutbacks anyway.

Water rates are also going up because agencies are selling less water, and water departments argue revenue is falling but costs are not, Kerl said.