City council to vote on the plan, which would include water-saving measures for residents and businesses
The San Diego City Council will likely approve an emergency water conservation plan Nov. 10, putting into place mandatory water-saving measures for residents and businesses, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
If the plan is approved, most of the rules won't begin immediately since it's not clear how much water must be saved in 2009. The water level in Lake Morena is currently only about 13% of capacity.
By spring, water agencies across California are expected to step up conservation with new rules and stronger enforcement. San Diego's role is especially important because it accounts for more than one-third of consumption in the county.
The city's proposal establishes a system of progressively stricter mandates that includes year-round regulations against water waste, such as a ban on landscape irrigation runoff, the newspaper reported.
San Diego officials received more than 500 complaints about misuse of water in September and October. There were only about 30 per month in early 2008.
Officials are studying historical water-use data to establish consumption limits for each ratepayer, Alex Ruiz, a deputy director for San Diego's water department, told the newspaper. Light water users may avoid mandatory cuts.
“We are committed to ensuring that any allocation properly credits those who have stepped up to the conservation challenge,” Ruiz said.
Heavy water users could be penalized with a surcharge on their water bill of 20% or more. Ruiz said repeat offenders also may be subject to water line flow-restriction devices.