Santa Fe Irrigation District asks Solana Beach customers to limit water use

By Kristina Houck

In response to limited water supplies throughout California caused by an ongoing drought, the Santa Fe Irrigation District asked customers to conserve water during the Feb. 26 Solana Beach City Council meeting.

The district — which serves customers in Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks Ranch — declared a Level 1 Water Shortage and called for voluntary water conservation during its Feb. 20 board meeting. The declaration comes after Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state drought emergency in January. Metropolitan and the county water authority have also issued calls for water conservation.

With the goal to reduce district-wide usage by up to 10 percent, the district’s declaration asks customers to voluntarily water their landscaped areas only before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m.; repair or replace broken or inefficient sprinklers; and wash paved areas only when necessary for health and safety.

“This is a voluntary call for conservation,” said District General Manager Michael Bardin. “These are pretty simple rules. We hope folks follow these all the time.”

San Diego County imports more than 80 percent of its water supply. Conserving water now will extend the region’s supplies and help ease the burden on sources in Northern California, Bardin said.

The district last imposed water use restrictions in 2009. Although the restrictions were lifted in 2011, Bardin said the district’s water demand is currently 22 percent less than it was in 2007.

In the last five years, Solana Beach residents have reduced their per capita usage of water by 35 percent, he added.

“The last time we were in this situation, we asked folks to cut back,” Bardin said. “They embraced that ethic, they did it, and it stayed, so we want to thank the residents of the community, our service area and the city … but our work is not done.”

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