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Water use restrictions to remain in place

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Lawns in the region will not be any lusher this year after the San Diego County Water Authority Board voted Thursday to leave mandatory conservation measures in place.

The Water Authority will continue limiting water deliveries to its 24 member agencies through June 2011. The Board also voted to leave in place a Level 2 Drought Alert condition for a second straight year. It is the first time in the Water Authority’s history that customers have faced mandatory conservation restrictions for two consecutive years.

Though the region experienced above average precipitation during the recent rainy season, supplies are still low due to pumping restrictions in the Bay Delta. The Department of Water Resources determined only 45 percent of requested water deliveries would be permitted to pass through the Bay Delta in 2010 due to concerns over endangered fish species in the Bay Delta.

The Water Authority Board’s decision means urban water use in the region must remain at least 8 percent below levels prior to July 2009, when conservation requirements took effect. Conservation requirements within local water districts may vary depending on the portion of its water each agency receives from the Water Authority.

Since drought restrictions were instituted, urban water use has fallen 15 percent, compared with the previous year. Water Authority officials attribute the reduction in water use to improved water conservation by residents and businesses, suppressed demand due to the ongoing recession and an average rainfall year following several years of below-average rainfall.

“The region has responded well to the need to reduce our water use,” said Claude “Bud” Lewis, chair of the Water Authority Board. “Our residents and businesses will need to continue following water use restrictions in their community.”

The Board also set a public hearing on the Carlsbad Desalination Project for June 10. Developer, Poseidon Resources will give a progress report on the plant, which is expected to provide 50 million gallons per day of potable water once complete in 2012.

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