With mandatory water conservation growing more likely due to drought and regulatory restrictions, the San Diego County Water Authority is planning to distribute 1.75 million door hangers as a community service to help residents alert their neighbors to potential water-wasting problems in their yards.
The bright yellow door hangers contain a checklist of potential irrigation problems on one side, and recommended outdoor water conservation tips that can save thousands of gallons of water on the other.
“These door hangers are a positive means for neighbors to help neighbors save water,” said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. “It gives residents a convenient way to alert their neighbors to a potential outdoor water wasting problem, such as a leaking sprinkler or an irrigation system left on during a rainstorm.”
Approximately 280,000 pads of door hangers will be distributed to homes in the Sunday, March 1, edition of The San Diego Union-Tribune. An additional 46,800 pads will be distributed on March 5 in the North County Times. Each pad contains five door hangers. The door hanger also can be downloaded and printed from the Water Authority’s conservation website, www.20gallonchallenge.com/helpyourneighbors.html. Door hanger pads will be available at Water Authority outreach booths and events, and are being provided to the Water Authority’s 24 member retail water agencies. Click here for a sample of the newspaper insert.
“The Water Authority is intensifying its outreach efforts to ensure that people are aware of the potential for mandatory conservation and cutbacks,” Stapleton said. “The door hanger is one of the many ways of providing information about water waste and tips for saving water.”
Addressing outdoor water waste has significant potential for water savings, because as much as 60 percent of residential water use occurs outside. Because home irrigation systems usually operate in the early morning or late evening, many homeowners may not notice problems or malfunctions in their own irrigation systems.
Mandatory conservation is still very likely this year because 2009 follows two critically dry years in California. And, despite recent precipitation, 2009 continues to receive below-normal rainfall and snow pack. Furthermore, severe regulatory restrictions on water deliveries from the State Water project – the source of about 30 percent of San Diego County’s water supply last year – also remain in effect. Many key reservoirs around the state remain at near record-low levels.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the Water Authority’s main water supplier, reported earlier this month there is a 75 percent chance it will reduce water allocations to its member agencies this year. An allocation from MWD will force the Water Authority to allocate supplies to its 24 member retail water agencies, activating local mandatory water use restrictions. MWD is expected to decide whether to allocate water supplies in April.
Links to retail water agency drought ordinances, as well as conservation tips, rebates and water-saving information are available at www.20gallonchallenge.com.
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