The San Diego County Water Authority is urging residents and businesses to turn off irrigation systems in anticipation of a storm system forecasters expect to move into the region late Friday and last until Sunday. Following a significant storm, irrigation systems can remain off for several weeks. The Water Authority estimates a one-week hiatus from using landscape watering systems across the region could save 2,000 acre-feet of water, or enough to meet the needs of 4,000 families of four for a year.
Although El Niño conditions have brought rainfall to slightly above normal levels for this time of year, only 5 to 7 percent of the region’s total water supply is from surface water captured from local rainfall. Significant challenges to the region’s water supply remain due to regulatory restrictions on pumping water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta region, which on average has supplied more than a third of San Diego County’s water supply over the last six years.
Restrictions activated in late January to protect salmon are currently causing the loss of 10,000 to 12,000 acre-feet of water every day to the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project combined. Even greater water losses are expected if Delta smelt protections are implemented. These restrictions would cut pumping by more than 50 percent below the already-reduced levels.
Additional water-saving tips are available at: www.20gallonchallenge.com.
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