Drought targets could be lowered


Residents in the San Dieguito Water District are currently tasked with slashing water use 28 percent under state-mandated rules, but this target could be lowered to 20 percent.

General Manager Bill O’Donnell at the district’s Feb. 17 board meeting said the state might lower the district’s target based on a credit for districts that have developed local water supplies since 2013 — in this case, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant that recently opened.

O’Donnell in an email this week said the State Water Resources Control Board will soon decide whether to reduce the district’s goal by as much as 8 percent. If the district’s request is granted, the district’s new reduction goal would take effect March 1.

“Any reduction of our conservation target would most likely allow us to reduce our drought rates,” O’Donnell wrote. “How big of a reduction is not known until we find out how much credit we will receive from the State Water Board.”

O’Donnell stated all San Diego County Water Authority member agencies are applying for the credit since they’re funding the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

San Dieguito district customers have cut back water use 19.7 percent since last June, when conservation mandates took effect statewide in response to the ongoing drought. Water use is compared with the benchmark year of 2013.

Districts that don’t hit their state-mandated targets run the risk of being hit with fines.