SF mayor drops hints about mandatory water rationing

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
SF mayor drops mandatory water rationing hints
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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dropped strong hints on Monday that the city may be about to tighten the spigots on water use.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is dropping strong hints that the city may be about to tighten the spigots on water use. His words came at a drought task force meeting in San Francisco Monday that was filled with state and regional water officials.

"Everybody recognizes, at least from the water district at the city and county level, that we are in a crisis situation," said state OES Director Mark Ghilarducci.

From Ghilarducci, who runs Gov. Jerry Brown's drought task force, to ordinary people on the street, California's driest year on record has created frightening pictures of nearly empty reservoirs and lakes.

Grant Davis, of the Sonoma County Water Agency, draws resources from those dried up reservoirs, like Lake Mendocino.

Last week, he applauded Santa Rosa's move to mandatory rationing of 20 percent, in keeping with a new guidelines brokered by Felicia Marcus of the State Water Resources Control Board.

"The reason why we moved to mandatory regulations, relatively modest mandatory regulations at the state level, is that we were looking at large urban agencies that were very proud of the work they've done, and rightly so, at looking at having a year or two of and thinking there was no problem," Marcus said.

San Francisco, for example, still has a roughly two-year supply remaining in its Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

And yet, after Monday's session, the mayor suggested that tougher measures may be in store for this city, too.

"Given the expectations of the climate not necessarily helping, I think we are very close to mandatory water rationing," Lee said. "It's a serious effort there; we are reviewing all of the protocols that we have to get ready for."

Sounds more like a when, than an if.