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San Diego in “level 1” to conserve water

The San Diego County Water Authority just activated its water shortage contingency plan. The board is asking everyone to voluntarily reduce water use by 10 percent.

SAN DIEGO — In support of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s water conservation efforts following California’s two record-dry years, the San Diego County Water Authority activated its “Level 1,” or Voluntary Conservation of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

“We’re trying to achieve a 15% to be consistent with the governor’s request of 15% voluntary conservation. It’s using what you have efficiently and not wasting,” said San Diego County Water Authority Water Resources Manager Jeff Stephenson.

The good news is that San Diego County is already ahead in the conservation game compared to the rest of the state.

“In San Diego, everyone has done a great job over the years looking back from 1990 until the present, people have really cut back their per-person water use in half. We basically have a way to show that we have sufficient water supply so that we are not caught up in the statewide mandatory reductions if that becomes necessary,” Stephenson said.

The last time the water shortage contingency plan was activated was in 2014, just one year before the Carlsbad desalination plant opened. Now, as everyone is urged to step it up, San Diegans can help by cutting down outdoor and indoor water use.

“Running a full load of laundry, a full load of dishes and taking shorter showers, those are easy things to do,” Stephenson said.

Also, watering a garden less, turning off sprinklers can help.

“After we just got some rain, you should turn off your irrigation clock, so hopefully, that is what everybody is doing,” said The Water Conservation Garden Director of horticulture Paul Redeker at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon.

Redeker provides tips to reduce water like adjusting sprinkler nozzles.

“These are high-efficiency, they are stream-type with bigger droplets, and they shoot the water into the landscape so that they land on the ground instead of flying through the air,” said Redeker, who has been at the Water Conservation Garden since 2008.

Redeker shows which types of plants to put in the ground to levels of mulch and using artificial turf instead of grass.

But how long should Californians have to conserve water?

Stephenson said the governor has not given us an end date to his emergency drought proclamation, “so we will look at it month by month and see how each of the retail water agencies in the region do.”

For landscaping conservation tips, the Water Conservation Garden will hold a Fall Plants Festival on Saturday, November 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive.

WATCH RELATED: Much of California missing the mark in water-conservation efforts during drought