Report names water districts using most, least water

SAN DIEGO - As the state deals with severe drought conditions, new numbers obtained by 10News show San Diegans are using more and more water.

Whenever Tim Lane mows the lawn of his Point Loma home, you get a better look at his brown grass. He has cut back on mowing to go along with his water use.

"The sprinklers go on three times a week for only a few minutes," Lane said. "I bought a water-saving nozzle for the hose."

From the hose in his yard to fewer loads of laundry, Lane's family has tried to lower their water bill and help conserve.

"Everybody's got to contribute and my family has just made a point of it," said Lane.

It appears he may be in the minority.

According to the research group Equinox Center, the overall water usage in the county – including businesses – is climbing. It went from 133 gallons in 2012 to 140 gallons in 2013.

When it comes to residential use, here is how the numbers break down: 99 gallons per person in 2012 climbed to 107 gallons per person the next year.

The water use numbers came after mandatory water restrictions were lifted. Right now, the cutbacks remain voluntary.

So who's using the most? The biggest water users include the Rainbow Water District in the North County at 580 gallons per person each day. The Santa Fe Irrigation District uses 469 gallons per person each day. The Valley Center Municipal District uses 332 gallons per person.

Agriculture and home lot size are the main reasons for the high numbers.     

Among the lowest water users are the South Bay, National City and the Lakeside water districts, which all use about 100 gallons per person per day.

Amid drought conditions, many local water districts and many across the state are taking a close look at recycled purified water, dubbed "toilet to tap" by critics.

"There is potential for the city of San Diego to address up to 40 percent of the community's demands in a 20-year period with purified recycled water," said Lani Lutar, the executive director of Equinox Center.

As for the near term drought dilemma, Lutar says the increase is a concern.

"If we aren't more responsible with our water, the fact is water costs are going to increase at an even faster pace," she said.            

10News has partnered with the Equinox Center to look at quality of life issues leading up to the release of its annual dashboard report next Monday.

If you would to find out more about the report and how to reduce your water usage, visit EquinoxCenter.org.

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