(This article was originally posted on the RSF Review)
Water use in the Santa Fe Irrigation District actually increased in October and November over the same period in 2013, despite mandatory water-use restrictions imposed over the summer, according to a report presented Thursday, Dec. 18.
The lack of progress on water conservation by Santa Fe and other San Diego County water agencies has put a “bull’s eye” on the region’s back, General Manager Michael Bardin told the Santa Fe Irrigation District Board of Directors at its monthly meeting.
“The bottom line message we’re getting (from state regulators) is that San Diego is not doing enough, we need to do more to reduce demand,” Bardin said.
The report showed that the Santa Fe district — which provides water to residents of Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach and Fairbanks Ranch — used 1,137 acre feet of water in October, up from 1,004 during the same month one year earlier. In November, water use was 802 acre feet, compared to 705 during the same month in 2013. An average San Diego County family uses about a half of an acre foot of water per year.
In an interview after the board meeting, Bardin said that if water agencies in San Diego County don’t do more to conserve water during the ongoing drought, state regulators could decide to impose their own restrictions, which he said is the wrong approach. Such decisions are best made at the local level, taking into account the characteristics and needs of each community, he said.
Water officials are pushing conservation after Gov. Jerry Brown in January called for California residents to cut their water use by 20 percent in response to the state drought, which is in its third year.
Bardin said the spike in water use this fall appeared to be related to the unseasonably hot, dry weather. It came in the wake of restrictions on water use, including limits on the frequency and timing of landscape irrigation, that took effect in early September.
“We’re not seeing the response to the mandatory use restrictions we thought we’d see,” Bardin said.
District staff is formulating plans to more aggressively get out the word about the need to conserve, which could include posters, billboards and presentations to community groups, Bardin said. Specific measures will come before the Santa Fe board for consideration at the panel’s January meeting.
Read the full article on RSF Review.