Mandatory water restrictions in place for thousands of San Diegans

Water wasters could face $100 fines

SAN DIEGO - Two local water districts have issued mandatory restrictions on water use as California continues to deal with a severe drought.

Dry and dead lawns are becoming a common site in San Diego County, but with mandatory water restrictions now in place, letting that precious resource just roll down the gutter could add up to some hefty fines.

"An excessive amount of water use can negatively affect your city, your country, your world," said San Marcos resident Jessica Yi.

In San Marcos, some homeowners have ripped out their grass altogether, while others have switched the landscape using drought-tolerant plants.

Yi and her family have become creative in how they recycle their water. She said, "After we wash fruits or vegetables, we always reuse that water."

They also use it to water the plants and grass.

"I feel like it's necessary for people to conserve water early, even before there is a drought," said Yi.

Now that San Diego County is in extreme drought, just one level away from the worst case, mandatory water restrictions were put into place for the Helix Water District in the South Bay and the Vallecitos Water District in the North County.

The restrictions mean customers can only water three days a week, and only for 10 minutes each session. Watering needs to happen before 10 a.m. or after 10 p.m.

Tom Scaglione of the Vallecitos Water District told 10News people are doing a great job, but his district is just asking for a little more.

"What we're trying to get to is all the water that is being used in landscapes and trying to educate people about how they can officially use their irrigation," said Scaglione.

Mandatory restrictions were last put into place in 2009, and those restrictions lasted two years.

10News confirmed the Helix and Vallecitos districts will have people out looking for violators, and first-time offenders will get a letter or a visit. After that, each violation could cost $100.00.

Vallecitos serves about 94,000 people, including San Marcos, parts of Carlsbad, Escondido and Vista.

Helix serves 262,000, including customers in the cities of La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley.

For a complete list of the restrictions and potential fines, click here.

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