San Vicente Dam
The expanded San Vicente Dam and reservoir in East County is one of the reasons San Diego County still has adequate water suppies. Courtesy of the San Diego County Water Authority

Voluntary water conservation in San Diego to help drought-stricken parts of California is now the official policy of the San Diego County Water Authority.

The authority’s board voted unanimously Thursday to activate Level 1 of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan in support of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call for statewide help after two record-dry years.

A staff recommendation last week called 10% voluntary conservation, but the board raised that to 15% to comply with the Governor’s request.

The San Diego region continues to have reliable water supplies due to decades of conservation efforts and investments in supply such as the desalination plant in Carlsbad and improvements to the All-American Canal in Imperial County.

However, authority Board Chair Gary Croucher said San Diegans should increase their conservation efforts in the face of a potential third dry year across California.

“San Diegans have always stepped up when duty calls,” Croucher said. “Today, our 36-member Board sends a unified message encouraging residents to conserve water, avoid water waste, and take advantage of rebates to improve water-use efficiency indoors and outdoors.”

The Water Authority’s contingency plan was last activated in 2014. If the drought worsens, the next level in the contingency plan calls for mandatory conservation of up to 20%.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.