July 15 – Coastkeeper Encourages State Water Board to Approve Mandatory Water Restrictions

Watchdog organization says it’s critical for San Diego to achieve the short-term 20 percent conservation goal, long-term change in water ethic

SAN DIEGO, July 15, 2014 – In anticipation of an announcement today, San Diego Coastkeeper strongly supports the State Water Resources Control Board’s proposed emergency water conservation regulations. Despite the emergency drought conditions and Governor Jerry Brown’s call to conserve, water use in San Diego has increased 10 percent over the same months last year, according to the Voice of San Diego. Unfortunately, says Coastkeeper, voluntary conservation and education measures have not proven adequate to meet the Governor’s 20 percent conservation goals throughout the state and region.

“The State Board’s emergency water conservation regulations are a good first step toward long-term water conservation and sustainability, and San Diego County must complement this with dramatic improvements its own conservation efforts,” said Matt O’Malley, San Diego Coastkeeper Waterkeeper. “As an end-of-pipe water user, and one that imports more than 80 percent of our water from drought-stricken areas, we cannot settle for 5 percent improvements or hope for rain. We must take strong action–immediately.” (Click here to see a map of watersheds that supply most of San Diego County’s water supply overlaid with a map of drought-stricken areas.)

After his drought state of emergency declaration in January 2014, Governor Brown called for a water conservation goal of 20 percent. Unfortunately, says O’Malley, with only voluntary measures in place, data show that San Diego County’s water use increased almost ten percent as compared to the same period last year, while coastal Southern California only managed to conserve about five percent.

The proposed state regulation being considered today consists of three requirements: a prohibition on certain types of water use; an order that water suppliers implement the mandatory conservation measures that exist in their current plans or if they do not exist to implement the State Board guidelines; and an order for water suppliers with 3,000 or more service connections to provide monthly data on water production.

“San Diego is moving in the wrong direction during this drought. These emergency regulations are necessary because local voluntary conservation strategies of our water supply agencies have not been effective at reducing our use in San Diego. Mandatory conservation measures have been shown to be far more effective and are necessary to ensure San Diego has a lasting water supply into the foreseeable future,” says O’Malley.

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SAN DIEGO COASTKEEPER: Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. Visit us online at https://www.sdcoastkeeper.org.