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Cooler temperatures, shorter days offer opportunities to save water this winter

SAN DIEGO — With a water shortage still gripping the region, the San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies are encouraging residents, businesses and public agencies, as well as gardeners and landscape professionals, to take advantage of seasonal cooler temperatures and shorter days and reduce outdoor watering this winter.

“It’s very important to continue water conservation practices in the coming months,” said Claude A. “Bud” Lewis, Water Authority Board Chair. “Regulatory restrictions on State Water Project pumping are still in effect, significantly reducing water deliveries from the Bay-Delta in Northern California, the source of nearly a third of our water. Even if we are blessed with a wet winter from strong El Niño conditions, it will not be enough to solve our current water crisis.”

The Water Authority recommends the following actions to reduce outdoor water use this fall and winter:

• Comply with water use restrictions.

• Cut back on the frequency and duration of outdoor watering. Over-watering occurs mostly during the fall season and can be as damaging to landscapes as under-watering.

• Turn off irrigation systems as rainy weather approaches. Systems can be left off for up to a week following storms, depending on the amount of rainfall.

• Replace high-water-use plants with low-water-use plants. San Diego County’s semi-arid climate means that fall is the best time to install new plants, because they can take advantage of winter rains to help get established. For the Water Authority’s Nifty Fifty plant list for WaterSmart landscapes, visit

Total water use throughout San Diego County dropped 11 percent during July through September compared to the same period last year.

“We applaud everyone who made the effort to use less water during those high water-use months,” Lewis said. “Thanks to them we have made a great start toward meeting our conservation target for the year.”

The Water Authority is cutting water deliveries to its 24 member retail water agencies by eight percent now through June 30, 2010.

It is cutting deliveries because the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Water Authority’s main water supplier, cut water deliveries to the San Diego region by 13 percent for the same period.

MWD ordered the cut in response to supply shortages created by regulatory restrictions on water deliveries from the Bay-Delta in Northern California, drought and falling water storage levels statewide.


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