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'Continue with our water conservation practices' | Californians aren’t conserving enough water

Even with our recent storm, San Diego County is still well below our average for rain this year.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Even with our recent storm, San Diego County is still well below our average for rain this year. And as bad as the drought conditions are here, in Northern California they are even worse.

As a result, Governor Gavin Newsom just issued an executive order that moves the state into a stricter level of water saving, but he's allowing each local district to set its own rules.

“We're going to continue with our water conservation practices,” said Jeff Stephenson, Water Resources Manager with the San Diego County Water Authority. “We've ramped up our messaging and then directing people to our conservation programs.”

Stephenson says we need to do our part, but thanks to great conservation efforts by homeowners and renters, and decades of planning for the worst, we're in pretty good shape.

“We actually have more than enough water. We have 100% of our supplies. There's no shortage in San Diego.”

Here's the problem, despite a record snowfall in December, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is more than 60% below normal.

For some areas in Northern California, this is their only water source.

“The state water project and the snowpack are so low that they have actual water shortages in Northern California. And that's really the focus and what's driving some of the actions the Governor is taking,” said Stephenson

Nothing in the Governor's order is mandatory right now for San Diego, but in May we could be forced to stop watering lawns near commercial and industrial buildings that don't have trees.

“It would not touch schools and parks where the grass is used, but really focus on non-functional turf which is just decorative,” said Stephenson.

Since our last major drought in the early 90's, San Diegans have cut back our water use by 43% per person, and around 6% in the past year, but water officials say we should still take every opportunity to conserve.

Which leads to this reminder: Since we just had rain last night, turn off your sprinklers for a while.

WATCH RELATED: New plan for safe drinking water and its costs (March 2022)

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