San Diego water:  Somewhere between “unlimited” and “zero”

Regional water conservation is being applied in San Diego because they must–but is it enough? Minnesota is looking at regional water conservation because it’s smart for our long-term economic vitality and quality of life. Many Minnesota communities already have in place watering restrictions similar to what San Diego is instituting. Thankfully we don’t have to read stories like the one below (from a March 2 press release) where the city and state names are ours. Can you imagine a sentence that says, “The Minnesota State Water Resources Control Board declared an emergency water shortage last year and asked all Minnesotans to reduce water use by 20 percent” ?  I think if Minnesota were to that point we would be well beyond the simple night watering policies described below (or our common odd-even days format).

Steve Woods


[highlight]SAN JOSE, Calif. – Despite a few impressive rain storms this winter, California’s multi-year drought is still far from over, and the need to save water remains critically important. As spring approaches and daylight hours lengthen, the allowable hours for outdoor watering will change with the start of Daylight Saving Time. Watering will be allowed only before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m., effective Sunday, March 8. Outdoor water use is the easiest place to reduce and accounts for roughly half of the average residential water bill. To meet the state’s voluntary water conservation target of a 20 percent reduction, San José water regulations remain in effect and apply to everyone in San José, regardless of which water utility is providing service. According to the Santa Clara Valley Water District, statewide and local precipitation has remained low. In the Sierras, where San José imports half of its water, the snow pack measurement in February was only 19 percent of normal levels. Locally, groundwater level in San José is about 45 feet lower than the five-year average. The California State Water Resources Control Board declared an emergency water shortage last year and asked all Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent. The San José City Council also declared a water shortage emergency last year. San José’s water rules only apply to drinking water, not gray or recycled water.[/highlight]