Bay Area residents asked to conserve water

The utilities commission and the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, which represents 27 agencies that purchase water from the commission in Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, announced that voluntary cutbacks are necessary this summer, following two consecutive dry winters.

"It's particularly important after two dry winters that people curb their water use," public utilities commission spokesman Tony Winnicker said today.

Bay Area residents last year reduced water consumption by 12 percent through voluntary conservation efforts, the utilities commission reported.

"Last year we asked our customers to take additional steps to cut back on their water consumption and they rose to the challenge, helping us avoid the real possibility of rationing," said Ed Harrington, public utilities commission general manager, in a prepared statement. "This year, with other Bay Area water agencies calling for serious rationing, it's very important that our customers continue the same daily water-wise habits, which were so effective in reducing overall consumption last year."

The Sierra Nevada mountain region is the main source of water for the Bay Area and state hydrologists estimated that precipitation in the Sierra this year will register at 70 percent of a normal year, according to the public utilities commission.

The public utilities commission is offering tips to help household reduce water consumption, such as using a broom to clean sidewalks and driveways instead of a hose, operating washing machines and dishwashers only with full loads and replacing old toilets.

In addition, many Bay Area water companies provide efficient conservation plumbing fixtures for free. In San Francisco, residents may pick up free faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads and garden spray nozzles at 1155 Market St.

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