Study: North County districts using most water

District include Rainbow, Valley Center, Santa Fe

SAN DIEGO - 10News obtained eye-opening numbers about county water usage one day before Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to declare an end to the nearly 3-year drought.

In the past week, two local reservoirs have spilled over. That was a similar sight in the Monterey area on Tuesday, ushering in the end of a long drought.

The end of the drought is welcome news for Solana Beach resident Gloria Fernandes. She said her oranges have shrunk along with her water bill because she's cut back on water use.

Fernandes is not alone. According to the research group The Equinox Center, the South Bay and the San Diego water districts are among those using the least water per person – at 102 and 131 gallons a day.

Districts that are using the most water are found in the north. In the Valley Center water district, the water use is nearly 350 gallons per person. For the Santa Fe district, which includes Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach, usage comes in at 488 gallons per person. The Rainbow district, which includes part of Fallbrook, uses 697 gallons per person per day. All are areas with larger lot sizes.

"A big component to our water usage is irrigation and landscaping, and the bigger your lot, the higher the usage," said Ann Tartre, executive director of The Equinox Center.

While even the areas with the largest water use have seen declines in usage during the last few years, the trend may be reversing. Across the county, there was a 24 percent jump in February, year over year.

With the end of the drought, water restrictions could be loosened, but experts warned that the water supply remains vulnerable to earthquakes, legal issues and more drought.

"The latest climate science predicts more and more severe droughts going forward. In the end, we import about 80 percent of our water and that supply remains vulnerable," said Tartre.

Print this article Back to Top