San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the SF Public Utilities Commission have declared a water shortage emergency across the city’s regional water system. A variety of measures have been approved to conserve and reduce water usage as a result of extremely dry conditions across the state during the last 2 years.
The city has called to reduce water usage by 10% compared to the July 2019-July 2020 season, and will be applied to 2.7 million customers across San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties. The city will launch a public awareness campaign informing users about ways to reduce water waste, such as fixing leaky toilets, using low-flow fixtures, reducing outdoor irrigation, and more.
When a water shortage emergency is declared, the SFPUC is required to impose a temporary drought surcharge on water, amounting to a maximum of 5% of customers’ water bills. In other words, the average residential customer will see their bills increase by about $6 per month if they don’t take steps to reduce water use. The surcharge will go into effect on April 1, 2022 and end when the water shortage emergency declaration has been rescinded.
At the moment, San Francisco has some of the lowest water usage rates in the state with an average of 42 gallons per person, per day. California’s statewide average is more than double that, at 90 gallons per day.
“With California still experiencing devastating drought and the uncertainty around this rainy season, we need to make tough decisions that will ensure that our water source continues to be reliable and dependable for the future,” said Mayor Breed. “Year after year, San Franciscans step up to conserve our most precious resource, resulting in one of the lowest water usage rates in California, and during this critical time, I know that our City will once again meet the call to reduce water use. I applaud the SFPUC Commission for declaring a water shortage emergency and urging our customers to be mindful of their water usage.