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Drought Alert Fact Sheet

San Diego - The Mayor is recommending the City of San Diego move to "Drought Alert" status, the second phase of citywide conservation that calls for mandatory measures for all residents and businesses. The new measures would go into effect Nov. 1, pending City Council approval.

"San Diegans have responded to the statewide drought by conserving water at impressive levels," Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said. "Unfortunately, a record heat wave and a dwindling water supply require us to do even more. I am recommending to the City Council that San Diego adopt mandatory conservation measures to ensure that we all do our part to conserve as much water as possible."

The City of San Diego has been a leader in water conservation, enacting permanent measures in 2011 that are more stringent than most cities and water districts throughout the state. At the Mayor's recommendation and with City Council approval, the City entered into a "Drought Watch" status on July 1, 2014, which called for additional voluntary conservation measures in response to the statewide drought. Since then, water usage in San Diego fell 4.4 percent in August and 5.7 percent in September compared to the same month a year ago.

While San Diegans have been conserving water in recent months, several other factors have led the Mayor to recommend moving to the second phase - "Drought Alert." Those factors include:

  • A significant decline in ground water reserves throughout California
  • A drop in water reservoirs for the San Diego region
  • A lack of rainfall and diminished prospects for a strong El Niño
  • A severe heat wave for the San Diego region in August and September

By moving to "Drought Alert" status, the voluntary measures that have been in effect since July will become mandatory. It also calls for additional measures to be taken. The mandatory measures that go into effect on Nov. 1, pending City Council approval, are listed below.

  • Limit lawn watering and landscape irrigation using sprinklers to no more than three days a week on a schedule established and posted by the City.
    • Residences with odd-numbered addresses would be allowed to water on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays
    • Residences with even-numbered addresses would be allowed to water on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
    • Apartments, condominiums and businesses would be allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
    • During the months of June through October, the limit is no more than 10 minutes per assigned day.
    • During the months of November through May, the limit is no more than 7 minutes per assigned day.
  • Use a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shut-off nozzle or timed sprinkler system to water landscaped areas.
  • The washing of automobiles, trucks, trailers, airplanes and other types of transportation equipment is allowed only during the following times:
    • Before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. during the months of June through October.
    • Before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. during the months of November through May.
  • Irrigation is not allowed during a rain event.
  • Stop operating ornamental fountains except to the extent needed for maintenance.
  • Potted plants, non-commercial vegetable gardens and fruit trees may be irrigated on any day during the following times:
    • Before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. during the months of June through October.
    • Before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. during the months of November through May.
  • Irrigation is permitted any day at any time as follows:
    • As required by a landscape permit.
    • For erosion control.
    • For establishment, repair or renovation of public use fields for schools and parks.
    • For landscape establishment following a disaster.
  • Use of recycled or non-potable water for construction purposes when available.
  • Use of water from fire hydrants will be limited to firefighting, meter installation by the Water Department or other activities necessary to maintain the health, safety and welfare of San Diegans.
  • Construction operations receiving water from a fire hydrant or water truck will not use water beyond normal construction activities.

The City of San Diego plans to enforce the new mandatory measures by utilizing existing resources at no additional budgetary impact to water ratepayers. About 10 staff members in the Public Utilities Department will be tasked with enforcement, which largely calls for educating the public and working with residents and businesses to comply. The City will shift responsibilities for some workers and fill existing budgeted vacancies to ensure proper and adequate enforcement.

CONTACT: Craig Gustafson at (619) 453-9880 or cgustafson@sandiego.gov


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