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Third consecutive dry, warm winter projected for San Diego amid statewide drought

Some winter weather has made its way to San Diego, bringing wind, rain and snow to parts of the region. KPBS reporter Jacob Aere takes a look at what the latest storm means in terms of the megadrought and water supply struggles affecting much of the Western United States.<br/>

Even with the recent wet weather in San Diego County, climate change is rapidly accelerating in California, according to a new state report.

Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, explained how that can affect the state’s water supply.

“Our long term deficits are still significant in Southern California and especially in Northern California. And the overall water supply being at its lowest state on record for the Colorado system and near record lows even for California,” Tardy said.

Californians are being asked to conserve water as reservoirs run low and demand exceeds a supply stressed by climate change.

San Diegans find themselves in an advantageous situation, compared to most other residents statewide.

“So we have eight different sources of water here in San Diego, other parts of the state may be limited to one,” San Diego County Water Authority water resources manager Jeff Stephenson said.

“At this point we do not have any water shortages in San Diego. That being said, we do continue to encourage water conservation, water use efficiency and all those sorts of practices because water is such a precious resource,” Stephenson said.

Just recently, the Vallecitos Water District reminded residents that San Marcos and surrounding areas in North County are restricting outdoor irrigation from three days a week to two days through next May.

The district made the decision back in April based on their drought contingency plans.

“Here in San Diego, water prices have increased over time, just like everything in the world. The good news is we made investments to develop all these new water supplies years ago, when it was cheaper,” Stephenson said.

While the state’s report on the climate was a lot of doom and gloom — the current storm system is helping in more ways than one.

“It’s mostly beneficial for fire weather. It's really going to help us buy some time in the month of November to escape any more fire danger,” Tardy said.

The meteorologist said that this upcoming fall and winter is projected to be drier and warmer than average for the third year in a row, continuing the region’s ongoing drought issues.

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