PUC expected to ask SF to cut water usage

The Public Utilities Commission is expected to ask 2.5 million customers in San Francisco for a 10 percent reduction in water usage.
January 27, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Water restrictions are about to go into effect for 2.5 million customers in San Francisco. On Tuesday, the Public Utilities Commission is expected to call for a 10 percent voluntary reduction in water usage.

ABC7 News asked some restaurant owners in San Francisco's North Beach about this reduction and they're not too happy about it. It's a lot easier for residents to cut back than it is for businesses, especially restaurants that use hundreds of gallons a day.

Unlike home owners who can stop using the dish washer, restaurants have to keep theirs running as long as customers are coming through the door.

General manager of Chaya, Andrew Upton, says cutting back on water will be a challenge. He told us, "So we'll do what we can. Ten percent is going to be difficult, but we'll do our best to get through."

Many restaurants say they're already conserving water with high efficiency appliances, so reducing their usage by 10 percent would cut into their bottom line.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission says the 10-percent voluntary water reduction will start on Friday and saving that amount should be easier for residents.

SFPUC Spokesperson Charles Sheehan said, "Turning off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth can save you two gallons per minute. Taking shorter showers -- for every minute you save, you're going to save about 2.5 gallons of water."

Paul Hicks has already begun conserving by adding a low-flow aerator to his kitchen faucet. It saves four percent. Like many Bay Area public utility commissions, the SFPUC is giving out these free appliances to city residents.

"So easy. I just went to Polk and Golden Gate and picked up my free bag of low flow aerators and shower heads, and stopper and some dyes," said Hicks. When asked if he uses the dishwasher, he replied, "Very little. I wash them by hand."

The dye pills are dropped into the toilet tank to see if it's leaking water into the bowl.

San Francisco residents already have the lowest per capita water use in the state -- 49 gallons per day -- but this year's drought is calling on them to do even more.


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