SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Water use in the San Diego region plummeted by 29 percent last month, compared to December 2013, the County Water Authority announced Thursday.
CWA officials said the result was evidence that many residents, businesses and farmers turned off their irrigation systems for long periods because of a series of rainstorms. The savings totaled 10,636 acre-feet, enough to serve more than 21,000 typical four-person households for a year, according to the agency.
"People across the county capitalized on the wet weather and achieved an extraordinary reduction in water use last month," said Mark Weston, chairman of the authority's Board of Directors.
"That effort highlights our region's long-term commitment to water conservation, which has driven down per capita water demand by more than 20 percent since 2007," Weston said. "While we won't always have the benefit of rainstorms, we must continue to aggressively pursue every chance to conserve water indoors and outdoors."
While it rained a lot in December, it was still the 14th consecutive month of above-normal temperatures in San Diego. Last year was the hottest year on record in San Diego County and California dating back to 1895, and 2012-14 was the driest three-year period on record for the state, according to the CWA.
December's decrease in potable water use was based on figures reported by the Water Authority's member agencies.
The CWA takes water from various sources for distribution to its two dozen member agencies like the city of San Diego, the Helix Water District and Padre Dam, which, in turn, deliver directly to homes and businesses.
Water agencies across the county have adopted mandatory water-use restrictions and they are preparing for the potential of a fourth consecutive dry year.
Water authority officials cautioned residents that while rainfall is currently 130 percent of normal in San Diego, it's barely above average in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains, where a lot of the region's supply comes from. Also, the Sierra snowpack is 42 percent of its average water content for this time of year.