California tightens drought rules as San Diego officials fear higher water rates

California approved new drought restrictions Tuesday, much to the disappointment of San Diego County’s top water managers, who fear increased conservation will further increase the area. soaring water costs.

The new rules, demanded by Governor Gavin Newsom, require almost all water suppliers in the state to reduce water consumption for homes, while prohibiting commercial water users from watering “non-functional” lawns.

The new rules, which take effect in June, specifically require water utilities to activate what is known as “Drought Level 2”, a series of actions and bans outlined in locally prepared state emergency plans. The idea is to prepare for a water shortage of up to 20 percent.

In the city of San Diego, for example, Level 2 will limit outdoor watering to no more than three designated days a week. The city should also conduct information and exchange campaigns to promote conservation. Many San Diego residents will be familiar with these rules, as the city has made permanent a number of restrictions during the recent drought.

The nationwide ban on non-functional lawn irrigation affects businesses, homeowners’ associations and institutions, such as universities and government agencies. Think of freeways and car planters. Does not apply to golf courses, sports fields or lawns used for urban activities. It also does not apply to the use of recycled water.

The San Diego County Water Authority has long argued that the area should not be subject to state-mandated cuts. Wholesalers said the area has plenty of supplies for the coming years, mainly thanks to water supplies from the Colorado River and a high-cost desalination plant in Carlsbad.

Water authority officials expressed these concerns at Tuesday’s meeting of the State Water Resources Control Council, which unanimously approved the new emergency rules.

Elizabeth Lovsted, the agency’s water manager, noted that the area uses very little water from the endangered Sacramento River Delta in California.

“We have made historic investments in our supply portfolio. “We have high priority Colorado River water,” Lovsted said at the five-person panel. “We are not currently relying on the State Water Project to meet any of our requirements.”

Her concerns have been echoed by many other services that are not dependent on water from the delta and snow affected by the Sierra Nevada drought. Southern California executives have expressed concern that strict maintenance requires services to increase rates. As water use decreases, so do the payers’ incomes needed to cover a range of fixed costs, including repairs that are often needed.

“To compensate for this loss of revenue, we could either postpone water infrastructure and maintenance projects, thus reducing reliability, or we could increase water rates,” said Kathleen Coates Hedberg, Helix Water District Chairman, serving the eastern county of San Diego.

San Diego is already struggling with high water rates, as consumption has dropped by about 40 percent since 2007, thanks to everything from lawn discount schemes to water-efficient appliances. Many people have invested in drought-resistant landscaping just to see their bills grow – a trend that is likely to grow with costly new investments in water recycling, such as San Diego’s $ 5 billion Pure Water program.

State water council officials acknowledged the situation, but stressed the need to prepare for a rapidly heating world where water is increasingly scarce.

“You’re looking at the Colorado River, you’re looking at the delta, you’re looking at these oppressed systems, and it ‘s hard for anyone in the state to justify and say,’ We’re fine, ‘” said Board Chairman Joaquin Esquivel during the hearing. “We have to activate the Californians and really lean towards conservation.”

Earlier this year, Newsom called for a voluntary 15 percent reduction in water use across the state compared to 2020. However, with persistent bone drought conditions, water use across the state has increased slightly in recent months.

Now the governor has signaled that if no water savings are made this summer, even tougher water cuts could be on the horizon. It is not yet clear whether Newsom will try something as daring as the then governor. Mandatory 25% water cut by Jerry Brown in 2015.

However, San Diego water services may not be in a hurry to combat water use. It is up to local jurisdictions to enforce the new drought rules, a process that has proven to be a challenge in the past, given the limited budget to comply with the code.

Residents can report water waste directly to the state at savewater.ca.gov.

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California tightens drought rules as San Diego officials fear higher water rates Source link California tightens drought rules as San Diego officials fear higher water rates

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