by Photo by Luis Tosta via Unsplash

Stricter water restrictions are now implemented in Chula Vista, National City, and San Diego, as local water authorities implement Level 2 actions to bolster water conservation efforts. 

The Swetwater Authority (SWA) announced earlier this week that it is implementing Level 2 drought actions despite formally remaining in Level 1. The SWA delivers water service to approximately 200,000 people in National City, Bonita, and the western and central portions of Chula Vista. 

The City of San Diego announced Friday that it implemented “more stringent” water restrictions, following the steps of its neighboring water authority. These actions come after statewide order from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Level 2 actions aim to boost the city’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP). 

“We are asking San Diegans to take these steps now, so we can help avoid a more dire situation in the near future,” said Juan Guerreiro, Director of the City’s Public Utilities Department. “Water is a precious resource, and we must use our water wisely. We hope San Diegans will take the new restrictions to heart and take advantage of the range of rebates and water-saving tips offered.” 

The stricter water restrictions also come after the California Water Resources Control Board adopted an emergency water conservation regulation to ensure more aggressive water conservation by local water agencies throughout the state. 

The new regulation bans irrigating turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional properties, such as grass in front of or next to large industrial or commercial buildings. The ban does not include watering turf used for recreation or other community purposes, water used at residences, or water to maintain trees. 

The regulation also requires all urban water suppliers to implement conservation actions under Level 2 of their WSCP. 

According to the city, the new water restrictions also apply to city facilities and properties. 

The City of San Diego instructs its water customers to follow conservation rules outlined in its WSCP: 

  • Areas with no irrigation system must use a hand-held hose with a shutoff nozzle, hand-held container or a garden hose sprinkler system on a timer;
  • Irrigation is prohibited during and within 48 hours of a rain event;
  • Landscape irrigation is limited to no more than three days per week before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. This does not apply to commercial growers or nurseries, nor to the irrigation of golf course greens and trees.
  • Use of recycled or non-potable water, when available, is required for construction purposes; and
  • Washing of vehicles at residences is prohibited. Washing is still permitted at commercial car washes.

The SWA outlines Water Waste Prohibitions and Water Use Reduction Measures currently in place for all customers for water conservation. 

In 2023, the Authority is planning to undertake a new cost of service study to determine if the Authority needs to implement new rates. In developing and conducting the 2023 Water Rate Study, a discussion of Drought Rates will be included as an option to investigate.

“Drought Rates could be established as another financial sustainability tool for future significant water use reductions. Following the completion of the study and the implementation of its findings, staff can monitor over the new few months and provide an update at a later time,” SWA officials wrote in a memo to the Governing Board on June  3. 

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