With a windswept San Vicente Dam as a backdrop, San Diego County Water Authority officials and civic leaders Tuesday urged additional voluntary conservation in the face of an “epic drought,” but stressed that the region’s water supply is better shape than the rest of California.
“The drought that has hit California is epic,” said Thomas Wornham, chair of the water authority’s board of directors, adding that Tuesday’s hot, dry weather underscored the challenge.
“As we move toward the summer and the peak season for water use, we’re asking people to take additional steps,” he said. “Saving more water now will leave more water to help drought-stricken communities elsewhere.”
Water authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton said $2 billion of investment over the past decade had given the San Diego region a “robust and resilient infrastructure.”
She pointed to such projects as the raising of San Vicente Dam by 117 feet to store enough water for 300,000 homes, independent sources of water from the Colorado River and the desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad.
But she said there is a real need to conserve and San Diegans can help immediately, noting that “every time we ask the community to conserve, they come through.” Potable water use per person has dropped 27 percent from 2007 to 2013.
The authority introduced the slogan “when in drought, save every day, every way” and launched a website with water-saving tips.
Water authority officials were joined by Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., and Emily Young, vice president of environmental initiatives for the San Diego Foundation.
Cafferty said water supply is key to business development in California, and San Diego’s success with conservation and new supply is the mark of a smart economic region. Young said the foundation would reach out to hundreds of civic and community organizations to participate in the conservation initiative.