Panel teaches residents water solutions

Gov. Brown made statewide drought declaration

SAN DIEGO - Environmental experts held a panel Saturday to teach local residents what they can do to help prevent a water crisis in San Diego as California enters a third consecutive dry year.

At Mance Buchanon Park in Oceanside, members of local Indian tribes called on a higher power to make it rain.

"We're approaching it from a spiritual aspect, sending the vibrations into the earth, into the universe, calling on the rain clouds," said a tribe member.

The group performed a rain dance Saturday after California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statewide drought declaration.

San Diego is not trouble because demand for water has dropped by 27 percent and there are more reservoirs to store water.

In addition, the city of San Diego has already implemented major changes recommended by an appointed Water Policy Implementation Task Force.

"They are already well underway on a program to create a large scale wastewater recycling system," said Cary Lowe, who is with the task force.

Environmental experts held a panel on Saturday to give residents some practical solutions.

"It really reinforces the need to continue to conserve water, to keep those gains we've made in water conservation and do more," said Ken Weinberg, who is with the San Diego County Water Authority.

One of the many changes homeowners can make is getting rid of grass and putting in drought-resistant plants.

"We're starting to see now a reduced cost," said Paul Manasjan.

He received a $650 rebate through the county's turf replacement program. That money plus his $90 a month savings on his water bill makes his $9,000 yard worth it.

"We could actually contribute to something a common good, reducing our overall water usage in San Diego," said Manasjan.

Environmental experts say on average most people use 140 gallons of water a day and that cutting back will only help the county ride out the drought until it passes.

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