After all this rain, will San Diego drop water restrictions? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

After all this rain, will San Diego drop water restrictions?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - You might be wondering what all of the rain means for San Diego's water restrictions.

Since June 2009, the city has been under a level 2 drought alert, with mandatory restrictions on things like running your sprinklers or washing your car. Authorities say don't expect those restrictions to be lifted anytime soon.

The storms before Christmas dumped more rain in a six-day period than ever recorded in San Diego, and transformed Qualcomm Stadium into a pool. Then there was more rain this week, and more in the forecast.

So does all of this wet weather mean that San Diego's drought is over? Authorities say don't be fooled.

"Nobody should be lulled into complacency," San Diego County Water Authority Assistant General Manager Dennis Cushman said.

Cushman says just a small fraction of our water supply comes from rain and local reservoirs.

"We might have a good year for rainfall here, but local rainfall in San Diego County only accounts for between 5-7 percent of all the water we use in San Diego County," he said.

Roughly 50 percent of our water comes from the Rocky Mountains through the Colorado River, with about 30 percent piped in from the Sierra Nevada Mountains through the state water project in Northern California, with the remaining 20 percent coming from local supplies and conservation.

"So while local rainfall is helpful, it reduces demand and allows people to turn off their sprinklers. We keep our eye 500 miles north and 1,500 miles to the east to see how our water supply picture is going to look," Cushman said.

So despite the recent rain here, the total picture won't be complete until the end of April, and with La Nina in place, a lot can change between now.

"A good way to think of La Nina is thinking of Mother Nature being fickle. Mother Nature's being very generous to us right now, but a week out like a light switch and drop no more rain for the rest of the winter, so we really don't know," Cushman said.

Around the end of April or early May, the San Diego County Water Authority will analyze the supply and then the City of San Diego can go from there as to whether or not the drought alert can be changed its current level 2 state.

There are also other factors that limit our supply, which include pumping restrictions in Northern California, so everyone should continue to conserve and use water wisely.

You might be wondering what all of the rain means for San Diego's water restrictions.
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