San Francisco considers new water conservation efforts

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is meeting its voluntary water conservation target so far this summer, but Supervisor Scott Wiener wants to hold hearings on future ways to reduce the city's water usage.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission found the city's water usage was slightly lower than expected, but water conservation will be on the agenda when the Board of Supervisors reconvenes in September. Much of the focus will be on expanding the city's recycled water program.

"We are behind where we should be in terms of water reuse. There is no reason for us to use anything but recycled water, for example for water landscaping," said Supervisor Wiener.

The plan is to eventually have certain areas like Golden Gate Park use only recycled water. It currently uses well water. The Public Utilities Commission has one recycling facility and will have another in four years.

There has been concerned that all the new construction of apartments in the city will increase the demand for water. Still the PUC projects even with the Bay Area's population increasing, that won't happen.

"So it's grown to about four-percent but water use has decreased over that period of time to a tune of 17 percent less consumption, and that's due to increases in conversation efforts, increase in effective plumbing fixtures, and changes to the building codes," said Tyrone Jue of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Supervisor Wiener is proposing that any future multi-unit buildings have individual water meters. This way people will know the amount of water they are using.

"In terms of getting people to conserve, if they aren't paying their own water bill, if they are not seeing their own water usage, it's going to be harder for them to conserve," Wiener added.

Individual water meters would require a building code amendment.
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