San Francisco, CA

There are no mandatory water restrictions in San Francisco but the Bay Area is facing a significant drought

Amancay Tapia

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Drought conditions are intensifying all over California as the state goes through a hot, dry summer with increasing temperatures . On May 10, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in 41 of California’s 58 counties but the situation is not improving. He also proposed a $5.1bn investment into water infrastructure and resilience over the next four years.

As per the National Integrated Drought Information System, almost 95% of California is currently experiencing severe drought. According to the U.S Drought Monitor the situation in the San Francisco Bay Area is pretty dire and getting close to the extreme drought category in the whole Bay Area.

The National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area, confirmed via Twitter,

The Drought Monitor has expanded D4-Exceptional Drought across Sonoma and Marin, and expanded D3-Extreme Drought across the entire Central Coast.

Whereas there are no mandatory water restrictions in San Francisco, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is asking customers to improve water efficiency to voluntarily reduce irrigation use by 10% and residents should by all means avoid wasting water in preparation for another significant drought..

Other water agencies and cities across the Bay Area have begun to issue water restrictions.Most of the cuts focus on restricting outdoor urban water use, as this wasted water takes up roughly half of the water distributed to communities.

Marin county was the first to declare a water shortage emergency back in April, imposing mandatory restrictions on residents with the goal of reducing use by 40% across the district.

Santa Clara county, one of the largest water districts in the San Francisco Bay Area, has also issued mandatory water restrictions. The Board of Directors for Santa Clara Valley Water District has declared a water shortage emergency and they require customers to reduce water use by 15% from their 2019 levels.

In the East Bay, there is not mandatory water restrictions even though residents who get their water supply from the East Bay Municipal Utility District could see higher rates soon and the district is asking customers to reduce water use by 10%

Alameda, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa or Sonoma have no mandatory restrictions in place but they are calling for voluntary cutbacks, including to avoid watering between 9 a.m and 5p.m.

The Public Policy Institute of California says that in the state with the most variable climate in the U.S, droughts are a recurring feature but this also means less snow, which California relies on for about 30% of its water supply.

California experienced severe drought from 2012 through 2016 and whereas lessons were learned and Californians learned to use less water in their day to day life, more needs to be done as climate change and surging temperatures in the state, are no doubt a big threat to California’s already fragile ecosystems.

San Francisco residents who love to water their lush green lawns, cars or driveways, should now think twice about the amount of water they use for these activities.

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