Environment

San Diegans Could Be Penalized for Not Complying With New Water Restrictions

It is no secret that California has been going through a drought for the last few years. With the drought, the California government has implemented restrictions to curb water usage. Those restrictions have had the opposite effect in some parts of the state. In San Diego, residents have always done their part to conserve water regardless of drought conditions. But that isn’t enough for local politicians who are now considering penalties for failure to comply with the restrictions.

Reform California Chairman Carl DeMaio said that the city government and Mayor Todd Gloria are just “parroting” lines from Gavin Newsom and are just trying to “do something” about the drought and are blaming San Diegans. Some of the new restrictions include only being able to water every other day, no watering 48 hours after a storm, and not being allowed to wash your car in your driveway. However, DeMaio highlighted in San Diego that we have a surplus of water, “The reality though is that we have a surplus of water in San Diego County and the reality is statewide, Californians are actually the most water-efficient that they’ve ever been in the history of actually keeping score.” DeMaio said it’s wrong to be punishing people who have been water-efficient and that penalties are the wrong policy choice. 

Despite the new restrictions, there seems to be a lack of enforcement of these restrictions. But according to DeMaio, enforcement will come from people like you and me who are encouraged to call out our neighbors for violating restrictions. DeMaio cites that the last time San Diego experienced a drought and similar restrictions were placed, the city government encouraged people to call out their neighbors and report them, “The City of San Diego urged residents to rat out their neighbors.  They actually set up an app and a phone number people could call to turn in their neighbors”.  DeMaio added that it is similar to what went on during COVID when people would call out businesses that did not enforce COVID mandates. 

The new restrictions will probably not bring any change or any decrease in water usage around San Diego, let alone the state. Over the last few decades California went from using 230 gallons of water for the average person a day in 1990, to using 180 gallons by 2010. Here in San Diego, the average individual uses 48 gallons per day. DeMaio says that not only has consumption changed but investments in water infrastructure have helped Californians save water. 

Photo Cred: SDfish.com/ City of San Diego