Council approves easing San Diego water restrictions

City News Service

The San Diego City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to ease restrictions on water use now that the drought is over.

The city declared a water emergency two years ago, but a near-record snowpack in the eastern Sierra Nevada and an above-average rainy season ended the drought.

During the drought, lawn watering was restricted to three days a week for 10 minutes each; cars could only be washed at set times, and fountains that did not recycle water were shut off. The city also required water leaks to be fixed within 72 hours.

Water wasters could still be ticketed for:

-- Irrigation overflows that produce a flow in gutters;

-- washing cars without an automatic shutoff nozzle;

-- failing to fix a leak;

-- using a hose to wash down driveways and patios; and

-- using decorative fountains that do not recirculate water.

The amount of time someone has to fix a leak will be the subject of a future ordinance.

Councilwoman Marti Emerald said easing the restrictions sends the wrong message to ratepayers.

"I don't want the public to think 'our drought is over, we can go back to our wasteful habits of the past,''' Emerald said.

Public Utilities Department officials said they would encourage conservation in their marketing strategies.

   
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