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San Diegans asked to cut back on water usage

County water officials say this is the worst drought in 1,200 years.

SAN DIEGO — It’s time to cut back on water usage.

That’s the message from city, county and state leaders Thursday afternoon as officials say this is the worst drought in 1,200 years.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria joined Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency and Gary Croucher, Chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors for the announcement.

"None of us like this. This is the last thing that we want but this is the reality we find ourselves in,” said Mayor Gloria to CBS 8. “This is a significant drought."

The conservation message comes as water users across San Diego County experience a 3% to 5% rate hike.

"I’m not happy about it but what are you going to do?” said Mayor Gloria. “This is a scarce resource. Scarcity breeds cost."

The San Diego County Water Authority's Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday afternoon reaffirming their commitment to conservation saying, this is the worst drought in 1,200 years.

Gary Croucher is the Chair of the Water Authority Board of Directors. Croucher says the county is not enforcing the new restrictions. However, Croucher tells CBS 8 that Governor Gavin Newsom is looking into how to enforce water conservation.

San Diego County is faring better than other California cities and counties when it comes to conservation, thanks to efforts like desalination. Croucher says,

“While we prepared here in San Diego by diversifying our water supplies, we're not in this alone still,” said Croucher. “Taking a shower just a little bit shorter. When you're washing dishes, turn it off or fill the sink up and do it. When you're landscaping and watering outside, reduce that time,"

San Diego County is already under water restrictions that started June 10, 2022.

The restrictions include watering lawns only three times per week before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. and lawn water sprinkler systems cannot be used for 48 hours after it rains.

People CBS 8 talked to agree that it’s time to cut back on water usage.

Kasthura Ramesh says he grew up in India where water conservation was a way of life.

"I try to be as conservative as possible because I watch every penny. We need to do our part,” said Ramesh. “We cannot blame the government for everything so, if you have a lot of bad habits, you need to cut that out."

Henry lives in San Diego and says he understands he needs to conserve water despite the rate hike. 

"It's going up and I'd rather just be able to keep paying for it. I'd rather be in the position where we *can pay for it you know?" said Henry. "I'm all for the conservation of water. A lot of people like to keep their yards a certain way and I think there's a lot of water wasted on landscaping."

WATCH RELATED: Californians could see mandatory water cuts amid drought (May 2022)

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