San Diego enacts mandatory water usage regulations

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In response to the increasing drought conditions throughout our region, on Monday, a unanimous vote by the San Diego City Council puts mandatory water usage restrictions into effect as of Saturday, November 1, 2014. This will cause the voluntary rules, in place since this past July, to become mandatory, and therefore enforceable with fines and penalties. The stated goal is to decrease the use of water in the city by 20%.

The mandatory restrictions can be found here.

One important aspect of the rules is that any water runoff from a resident’s property is prohibited. Any activity that causes water to run into the street, such as washing a vehicle or even watering of plants, would not be allowed. All runoff must remain on the property.

Enforcement of the now-mandatory rules will start with any violation causing a letter to be sent through U.S. mail noted the violation and offering a period of up to 14 days for the offender to cease the prohibited activity or correct an unlawful situation. If the problem is not resolved after this time, either a phone call or visit to the violator would occur. After that, non-compliance would generate action by the code enforcement personnel of the city government, meaning a fine would be brought against the person in violation.

The most recent time that mandatory water usages regulations were in effect within the city of San Diego began in June of 2009 and lasted until May of 2011. In those two years only one person received a fine for not abiding by the water rules. This time, however, the city will probably be getting more complaints about violators, as there is now a mobile app for smartphones that will make reporting your neighbor’s transgressions much simpler and quicker.

Most of the water in Southern California comes from the Metropolitan Water District. As a result of the current drought conditions, the MWD has less than half of its normal reserves. The local San Diego County Water Authority has just a bit more than a third of its usual amount of water in storage, and in general, water reservoirs in San Diego or that provide water to the county are at only 44% of full.

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