SAN DIEGO - The San Diego County Water Authority issued a Level 1 Drought Watch on Thursday.
The watch asks residents to voluntarily water their yards early in the morning or late at night, avoid water runoff and conserve in other ways.
Although San Diego-area officials believe there will be enough water this year thanks to greater storage capacity and increased diversification of sources, they say if weather conditions remain dry then next year it could be a different story.
"We don't know what 2015 or beyond will bring," said County Water Authority staffer Ken Weinburg. "We're just terribly short on runoff."
According to the SDCWA, per capita potable water use in the San Diego area has decreased about 27 percent since 2007, and local cities and water districts are on pace to meet their state-mandated water-efficiency targets for 2020. Total regional consumption of potable water in fiscal year 2013 was 24 percent lower than in fiscal year 2007. San Diego imports 85 percent of its water supply.
Gov. Jerry Brown recently declared a drought emergency across the state. On Friday, President Barack Obama will be in Fresno to reassure San Joachin Valley farmers who are concerned about their crops.
Restrictions Under a Level 1 Drought Watch (Voluntary)
Washing down paved surfaces is prohibited including but not limited to sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or patios, except when it is necessary to alleviate safety or sanitation hazards.
Water waste resulting from inefficient landscape irrigation, such as runoff, low head drainage, or overspray, etc. is prohibited. Similarly, stop water flows onto non-targeted areas, such as adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, hardscapes, roadways, or structures.
Irrigate residential and commercial landscape before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only.
Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or bucket to water landscaped areas, including trees and shrubs located on residential and commercial properties that are not irrigated by a landscape irrigation system.
Irrigate nursery and commercial grower’s products before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. only. Watering is permitted at any time with a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle, a bucket, or when a drip/micro-irrigation system/equipment is used. Irrigation of nursery propagation beds is permitted at any time. Watering of livestock is permitted at any time.
Use recirculated water to operate ornamental fountains.
Wash vehicles using a bucket and a hand-held hose with a positive shut-off nozzle, mobile high pressure/low volume wash system, or at a commercial site that recirculates (reuses) water onsite. Avoid washing during hot conditions when additional water is required due to evaporation.
Serve and refill water in restaurants and other food service establishments only upon request.
Offer guests in hotels, motels, and other commercial lodging establishments the option of not laundering towels and linens daily.
Repair all water leaks within five days of notification by the member agency unless other arrangements are made with the General Manager.
Use recycled or nonpotable water for construction purposes when available.