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Here Comes Water Rationing

The city's Public Utilities Commission is expected to mandate a 10% reduction from major users.


Just hours after Mayor Ed Lee dropped a hint that mandatory water rationing could be headed to the city, it looks like mandatory water rationing could be headed to the city. It's like he knew!

At a meeting of the state's drought task force on Monday, Mayor Lee was quoted as saying, "I think we are very close to mandatory water rationing. It's a serious effort there; we are reviewing all of the protocols that we have to get ready for." After all, thanks to the ongoing drought, Hetch Hetchy is down to a two-year supply.

This morning, we got a glimpse of what those measures might look like. The SF Public Utilities Commission is considering a proposal today that would have large-scale water users such as schools, golf courses, and condo complexes cut back their water use by 10% or face stiff fines. The move follows a January call for a 10% reduction across the city, which was not made mandatory. Governor Jerry's Brown call for a voluntary 20% reduction statewide, also in January, failed to reach its target, so cities like Santa Cruz and Pleasanton have already instituted mandatory rationing.

If the SFPUC move goes through today, would a city-wide rationing program be considered later? It's certainly a possibility. If you want to know how strong a chance there is, just ask the Mayor.


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