Brown’s Drought Mandates Drip Into San Diego Under “Series of Actions”

Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

San Diego residents will feel the squeeze to comply with government mandated water restrictions under new declarations from the city’s Mayor Kevin Faulconer and councilmembers who joined California Governor Jerry Brown’s unprecedented decree to reduce water usage 25% statewide.

The “series of actions” announced this week include: “directing the City’s Public Utilities Department to strengthen enforcement of water waste regulations, reviewing options to reduce outdoor irrigation at parks,” reinstating a Turf Replacement Rebate Program, and “halting the use of potable water to irrigate turf landscaped medians.”

“In the wake of Gov. Brown’s mandates, these actions will help limit water waste and offer incentives for San Diegans to conserve,” Republican Mayor Faulconer said Wednesday.

Wide expanses of the state remain plagued with extreme to exceptional drought at highest levels measurable on a scale used by the National Weather Service. While drought is a recurrent phenomenon for California, many in the state are decrying the government’s part in amplifying the hurt.

Environmental Protection Agency power wielding has allowed the three-inch Delta Smelt to prevent hundreds of billions of gallons of water from reaching thirsty California farmlands each year, dumping it out to sea. And while the state funds a multi-billion dollar high speed rail project, it has failed to build water-saving reservoirs and infrastructure to save rainwater what rainwater does fall.

Farms have been in the way of the massive rail project. Recent eminent domain resolutions will allow the state to confiscate farmlands needed to proceed with the troubled project.

Brown’s executive order, issued April 1, mandates a 25% cut in water usage statewide. That order mentioned penalizing heavy water users, a move echoed in the San Diego dictates.

Falling in line with the new mandate, Faulconer has “directed the Public Utilities Department to begin issuing formal warnings and fines for water waste violations,” according to a city of San Diego release. “No one will receive a fine without first receiving a written warning.”

“No one solution is the answer,” said Democrat San Diego City Council President Sherri Lightner.

Faulconer has reserved $450,000 in rebates for San Diegans participating in the re-launching the Turf Replacement Program between now and fiscal year 2016.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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