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State water board adds to local water restrictions

Given the historic drought, the California Water Resources Control Board approved sweeping water restrictions March 17.

Those limitations are already in place in the San Dieguito Water District (SDWD). That is, with the exception of one: a ban on watering lawns and landscaping with potable water within 48 hours after measurable rainfall.

Bill O’Donnell, assistant general manager of SDWD, said at the March 18 board meeting this restriction will be incorporated into the district’s drought-response program in April and then take effect.

“A lot of people are going to have to learn how to operate their irrigation timers,” O’Donnell said. “A lot of people don’t know how to do that right now. It will be an education process.”

The California water board also required, among other things, that cities and water districts limit irrigation days. But this doesn’t affect water districts like the SDWD with existing restrictions on the number of days people can water.

Last year, the district moved to a Level 2 drought status. So households are prohibited from irrigating more than three days a week. Assigned watering days and the full list of mandatory measures can be found at sdwd.org.

Key sources of water have been hit hard by the drought. O’Donnell noted California snowpack ranges from 10 to 16 percent of average, and local rainfall is below normal. To make matters worse, temperatures have been above average across the state.

“The drought continues to get worse,” he said.

In February, O’Donnell said the SDWD and other local agencies are likely to face water cutbacks this summer. He said at the March 18 meeting that staff continues to prep for those.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will consider reducing allocations to local water agencies by 5 to 10 percent, or perhaps more, in April. If Metropolitan, the region’s wholesaler, approves the cutback, it would take effect July 1.


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