City of San Diego reduced water use by 26 percent in May - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

City of San Diego reduced water use by 26 percent in May

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The city of San Diego reduced its water consumption by 26 percent in unusually rainy May, one of the best performances by a large urban area in the state, the State Water Resources Control Board reported Wednesday.

The improved conservation mirrors what happened statewide during the month, which state water officials say was the best month to date for cutting back on water use across California, with a reduction of 28.9 percent.

Gov. Jerry Brown has called for an overall 25 percent drop in water use over 2013 totals because of the continuing drought, though individual water suppliers have been assigned varying cutback targets.

"The numbers tell us that more Californians are stepping up to help make their communities more water secure, which is welcome news in the face of this dire drought," said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus.

"That said, we need all Californians to step up -- and keep it up -- as if we don't know when it will rain and snow again, because we don't," she said. "If the drought continues beyond this year, we'll all be glad we did."

The water board said customers of the Valley Center Municipal Water District saved the most in San Diego County on a percentage basis -- 48 percent.

The Santa Fe Irrigation District, frequently criticized for high water use among residents in affluent Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach, saw a 42 percent reduction during the month.

Other city and water district results for May in the region, according to water board data:

-- city of Poway, 45 percent;

-- Rincon del Diablo, 43 percent;

-- Vallecitos, 38 percent;

-- Lakeside and Olivenhain, 37 percent;

-- Padre Dam, 36 percent;

-- Ramona, 32 percent;

-- city of Oceanside, 31 percent;

-- Helix and Vista, 29 percent;

-- Carlsbad and Fallbrook, 28 percent;

-- Otay, 27 percent;

-- city of Escondido, 25 percent

-- Sweetwater Authority, 24 percent; and

-- San Dieguito, 18 percent.

The state-mandated cutback target for the city of San Diego is 16 percent.

"While the numbers for May look promising, we should keep in mind that unexpected rainfall also contributed to the lower usage," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

"San Diegans continue to prove they are statewide leaders in water conservation and they must keep conserving water to meet the state mandate that went into effect June 1," he said. "The best way to conserve is to reduce outdoor irrigation by abiding by the two-day-a-week watering restriction set countywide."

The city of San Diego's turf replacement rebate program resumed today with the beginning of the new fiscal year, with $1.2 million available for residents who remove their lawn and install native or drought-tolerant landscaping.

Information about the rebate program is available at wastenowater.org.

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