SF officials declare water shortage emergency, ask residents to reduce usage by 10%

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco city officials on Tuesday declared a water shortage emergency as the state continues to weather drought conditions since the last two years.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission declared the emergency along with Mayor London Breed, and during their Tuesday, meeting the commission voted unanimously to approve a commitment to voluntarily reduce the city's water consumption by 10%.

The reduction is based on water use from July 2019 to June 2020, city officials said.

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The call for water reduction is voluntarily for all 2.7 million SFPUC customers, which are spread out across not just San Francisco, but also Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

"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," Breed said in a statement.

"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," she said.

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"We are in a drought with far-reaching consequences, and it has become clear we all need to do even more to address it," SFPUC General Manager Dennis Herrera said. "San Franciscans have been doing their part and have some of the lowest water usage in the state. This emergency water shortage declaration will help all of our customers pull together and move in the same direction."

Part of the declaration of emergency will include a water conservation public awareness campaign consisting of media advertisements in multiple languages, urging customers to take action to conserve water like fixing leaky toilets, installing low-flow fixtures, and reducing outdoor water usage, city officials said.

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