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San Diego City introduces more water restrictions as drought grips California

New restrictions on water use are now in effect in the City of San Diego. The restrictions began today, and follow an order from the State Water Resources Control Board. KPBS reporter John Carroll details the new rules and what can happen if people don’t follow them.

The city of San Diego Friday implemented stricter water restrictions following a statewide order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, restrictions which will remain in effect for a year.

At Newsom's direction, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency water conservation regulation calling on local water agencies to take appropriate action that will conserve water throughout California.

"We are asking San Diegans to take these steps now, so we can help avoid a more dire situation in the near future," said Juan Guerreiro, director of the city's Public Utilities Department. "Water is a precious resource and we must use our water wisely. We hope San Diegans will take the new restrictions to heart and take advantage of the range of rebates and water-saving tips offered."


The Level 2 actions being implemented by the city step up those water conservation rules under its Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

Level 2 actions

  • Areas with no irrigation system must use a hand-held hose with a shutoff nozzle, hand-held container or a garden hose sprinkler system on a timer;
  • Irrigation is prohibited during and within 48 hours of a rain event;
  • Landscape irrigation is limited to no more than three days per week before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. This does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries, nor to the irrigation of golf course greens and trees.
  • Use of recycled or non-potable water, when available, is required for construction purposes; and
  • Washing of vehicles at residences is prohibited. Washing is still permitted at commercial car washes.

San Diego administers a variety of rebates for turf replacement, irrigation control systems, rain barrels, gutters and gray water systems, Guerreiro said.

These new water restrictions also apply to city facilities and properties. According to city staff, the city has reduced its water use at municipal facilities by changing landscape to hardscapes and drought-resistant plantings, and incorporating water-saving devices in new and renovated buildings, like libraries and fire stations.

Most of San Diego's water is purchased from the San Diego County Water Authority, which has determined that the region's water supply is currently stable but the "dire drought in Northern California and throughout the West requires all water customers to help reduce water use," a city statement read.


Anyone who sees water waste can submit a report on the city's Get It Done app, call (619) 533-5271 or email

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