San Diegans brace for mandatory water restrictions

State board to rule July 15 on drought

SAN DIEGO - San Diego County will likely soon go from voluntary water conservation to mandatory conservation, which could mean heavy fines for violators.

The state's drought conditions have not improved, and experts say they do not expect them to improve.

"I think that's what we're evaluating right now," said San Diego County Water Authority Director of Water Resources Ken Weiberg.

On July 15, the California State Water Resources Control Board is expected to approve an emergency resolution asking local water districts to make water conservation mandatory.

"I think that's the logical next step," said Weinberg.

The San Diego County Water Authority would make a similar declaration later this month. The local water district that directly serves county residents would then implement their own water restrictions, which could include fines -- which could go upwards of $500 -- for water wasters.
The decision means a return to the restrictions San Diego had in 2007.

The good news is San Diegans cut their overall water use by 25 percent, but San Diegans also kept cutting usage even when the drought went away.

With the drought back with a vengeance, San Diegans will be asked to conserve more.

"It becomes a little more difficult to do more but we think that residents and businesses can do more," Weinberg said.

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