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Water use in San Diego up compared to last year

Overall water use rose 1.5 percent citywide in January, compared to the same month last year, and commercial users are to blame, San Diego officials said Tuesday.

“The two market segments where we did have an increase were both in our commercial customers as well as our irrigation-only accounts,” said Alex Ruiz, director of the San Diego’s Water Department.

Commercial customers used about 5 percent more water in January, compared to the same month last year, Ruiz said, contrasting with a 1.5 percent decline in water use by residential customers last month.

Mayor Jerry Sanders used the latest statistics to stress the importance of continuing to conserve water, despite the recent rains and another storm that moved in Tuesday.

“The latest numbers are a reminder that we can’t afford to slack off, no matter how well we have done in the past,” he said.

“This might seem like an odd time to have a press conference about water conservation,” Sanders said. “In fact, the timing couldn’t be better because every time it rains there is a temptation to forget all the good water saving habits that we have developed over the past few months.”

Overall, San Diego has cut its water use by about 10.5 percent since the city imposed mandatory restrictions last June. Those restrictions limit when residents can water their lawns and landscaping.

Ruiz said most people are complying with the law. So far, nobody has been fined, he said.