Temperatures soared in February and so has customers’ water usage, causing Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID) to miss the water conservation target imposed by the State. Water demands in February for the district were up 1% when compared with February 2013.
According to meteorologists, February’s average high temperature was 74.5 degrees, well above the previous highest February average of 72.1 set in 1951. With the sparse rainfall and high temperatures, we are seeing a climb in water demands for the District and are asking our customers to keep conserving. If the El Niño fails to bring substantial rains, and the high temperature continues, it may become increasingly difficult for customers to maintain their water reduction goals.
Customers asked to keep conserving. The District is reminding customers to keep conserving and to visit the District website, Facebook and Twitter pages, which all have extensive conservation information. The website also offers links to a variety of rebates and incentives for conserving water.
The District would like to remind customers that if they are planting this spring to take advantage of the opportunity to transition to low water use plantings that can save water, are easier to maintain, and will remain attractive through this and future droughts.
Clayton Tschudy, director of horticulture at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, offered three water saving tips for home landscapes:
- Choose climate- and soil-appropriate plants, particularly plants adaptive to San Diego’s arid climate.
- Mulch for reducing water needs.
- Use water-efficient irrigation, particularly irrigation that can be adaptive to individual plants.
“Choose the right plants from the get-go,” Tschudy suggested.
Customers have responded but continuing efforts needed. Overall, since the state-mandated cutbacks were put in place in spring of 2015, Santa Fe Irrigation District customers have responded with a 32% overall reduction in water use compared to 2013. The District’s target is 36%.
Be prepared for continuing arid conditions. The El Niño rains may have come and gone, or there could be more rain in March. Either way, since drought is an ongoing fact of life in semi-arid San Diego County it is wise to continue focusing on conservation and transitioning landscapes to low water use plants and water-efficient irrigation.