Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. (Courtesy SFPUC)

SFPUC asks irrigation customers to reduce water use by 10 percent amid dry weather

In light of dry weather conditions throughout California, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission on Thursday called for irrigation customers and city departments to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10 percent.

According to the agency, the SFPUC’s water reservoirs are currently at 76.8 percent of their maximum storage capacity – slightly lower than the historical average of 81 percent around this time of year.

SFPUC’s water comes from a variety of sources, including the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir near Yosemite and five other reservoirs located in the Bay Area, and serves some 2.7 million customers throughout the Bay Area.

“This is the second dry year in a row for the state of California and we must do what we can to make the most of our water supplies in case this trend continues,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Thanks to our innovative water policies and strong management, San Francisco is at the forefront of conserving water, but we have to look ahead. The steps we take now to use our water wisely will help us become more resilient and make it through future dry years.”

According to the SFPUC, San Franciscans consume an average of 42 gallons of water daily, one of the lowest rates in California.

Despite this, the SFPUC’s call for its 1,600 irrigation customers that rely on SFPUC to water their landscapes to reduce their use by 10 percent aims to ensure that water in the agency’s reservoirs and groundwater basins last through the ongoing dry spell.

“We are fortunate to have multiple sources of water supply, which makes our system more resilient in dry years,” SFPUC Acting General Manager Michael Carlin said. “However, we do not know how long this dry weather will last. We also want to be supportive of our communities as we recover from the devastating effects of this pandemic. Therefore, we are asking for small changes for irrigation customers that can make a big difference in stretching our water supply.”

To further encourage customers to use water efficiently, the SFPUC is offering free on-site irrigation checkups and landscape evaluations; grants; and a program that notifies customers of potential plumbing leaks.

Additionally, the agency also provides indoor water conversation assistance, including free replacements for old toilets; rebates for water-conserving clothes washers and other equipment; and individual home and business consultations.

SFPUC customers who pay their bills online can also track their water usage daily, or even hourly, at www.myaccount.sfwater.org.

For more information about the programs and services offered by SFPUC, residents can visit www.sfpuc.org/savewater.

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