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Coastkeeper says water board sends wrong message

We’re saving only 15 percent, not 25

Conserve! We're still in a drought.
Conserve! We're still in a drought.

Despite the state's ongoing exceptional drought, a recent report shows conservation efforts are easing, particularly along the southern coast.

In April 2015, governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order targeting a 25-percent reduction in water use. Initially, those efforts were met, with the state using 27 percent less water in August 2015 than the same month in 2013.

By August 2016, however, water use rose to the point that there was just a 17.7 percent reduction over the 2013 baseline. In the state's south coast region, which includes much of San Diego County, conservation was even lower at 15.4 percent.

"We are still very much in a drought. Our southern coast lies somewhere between extreme to exceptional drought," said San Diego Coastkeeper policy director Matt O'Malley in response to the latest findings published last week. "The monthly conservation numbers released by the State Water Resources Control Board prove that without the statewide conservation mandate, we are seeing bad habits once again take hold."

Despite the increase in water use, the San Diego County Water Authority recently reported that the region's water supplies appear to be stable through 2017 and beyond. Coastkeeper argues, though, that such statements send "the wrong message to be sending to local residents as it conveys a mixed message that we don't need to conserve.

"Mixed messages like these lead to excessive water use. The Santa Fe Irrigation District reported an average use of 524 gallons per capita. Contrast this with those areas that are doing a better job of conserving, such as the Sweetwater Authority — which reported an average use of 68.5 gallons per capita per day."

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Conserve! We're still in a drought.
Conserve! We're still in a drought.

Despite the state's ongoing exceptional drought, a recent report shows conservation efforts are easing, particularly along the southern coast.

In April 2015, governor Jerry Brown signed an executive order targeting a 25-percent reduction in water use. Initially, those efforts were met, with the state using 27 percent less water in August 2015 than the same month in 2013.

By August 2016, however, water use rose to the point that there was just a 17.7 percent reduction over the 2013 baseline. In the state's south coast region, which includes much of San Diego County, conservation was even lower at 15.4 percent.

"We are still very much in a drought. Our southern coast lies somewhere between extreme to exceptional drought," said San Diego Coastkeeper policy director Matt O'Malley in response to the latest findings published last week. "The monthly conservation numbers released by the State Water Resources Control Board prove that without the statewide conservation mandate, we are seeing bad habits once again take hold."

Despite the increase in water use, the San Diego County Water Authority recently reported that the region's water supplies appear to be stable through 2017 and beyond. Coastkeeper argues, though, that such statements send "the wrong message to be sending to local residents as it conveys a mixed message that we don't need to conserve.

"Mixed messages like these lead to excessive water use. The Santa Fe Irrigation District reported an average use of 524 gallons per capita. Contrast this with those areas that are doing a better job of conserving, such as the Sweetwater Authority — which reported an average use of 68.5 gallons per capita per day."

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Comments
3

"Despite the state's ongoing exceptional drought, a recent report shows conservation efforts are easing, particularly along the southern coast."

Apartments and houses are being thrown up all over the County. How can thise be if we're in such a severe drought? When you find yourself in a hole, the FIRST thing you to is stop digging.

Oct. 13, 2016

This analysis uses 2013 as a baseline for measuring water usage and relative savings. The order for this sharp cut in use came in early 2015. By that time it was obvious that we had a drought going, and many of us had already cut back, sometimes sharply. So, the percentage of reduction has much to do with the measuring stick, and saying that we are falling short of the goal may be true if we use 2013. Going back farther, even just a year, might yield a much more favorable report.

Oct. 13, 2016

Our brilliant political leaders should make a trip to the Coachella Valley and visit the various neighborhoods. Desert landscaping abounds in all neighborhoods regardless of the income. Most of the yards are beautiful while being low maintenance and water efficient. You don't need grass and it does not have to be dirt. We have had and will always have a water deficit in San Diego. Water will only get more expensive so it is time to look beyond the traditional San Diego landscaping.

Oct. 14, 2016

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