Region feeling effects of drought

Region feeling effects of drought
Emma Alaimo, left, and Marley Buchmann play in the water earlier this week at Sunset Park in San Marcos. Photo by Tony Cagala

REGION — The effects of continued drought conditions throughout the state are set to hit residents in North County in coming weeks — from homeowners to small children — as many water districts are set to make voluntary water-conservation measures mandatory.

Olivenhain Water District was among the first local water authorities in the county to activate “Level 2” of its drought response plan, in the wake of the State Water Resources Control Board and the San Diego County Water Authority making similar declarations.

Vallecitos and Vista Irrigation Districts are scheduled to vote on activating their Level 2 responses Aug. 6; Rincon Del Diablo Water District’s board will vote Aug. 11, the San Dieguito Water District will likely take it up at the Aug. 20 meeting; Fallbrook Public Utilities District’s board is expected to vote Aug. 25,

In many water districts, Level 1 of the drought response plan includes suggested and voluntary activities ratepayers could use to reduce water usage, such as watering landscaping on alternate days, washing cars with a bucket and hand-held hose with a positive shutoff nozzle, avoiding excessive irrigation runoff and not washing down paved surfaces.

Dilynn Whitaker plays in the splash pads at Sunset Park in San Marcos. Mandatory drought conditions will force the water off this week. Photo by Tony Cagala

Dilynn Whitaker plays in the splash pads at Sunset Park in San Marcos. Mandatory drought conditions will force the water off this week. Photo by Tony Cagala

Level 2 makes these and other restrictions mandatory. Violations result in monetary fines up to $500 per day in some districts.

In some cities, the restrictions will affect even the smallest of residents. San Marcos recently announced that the popular “splash pad” features at their local parks would be closed until drought conditions improve.

“By closing the splash pads, the city anticipates saving between 8,100- and 12,150 gallons of water per day,” the city said in a news release.

“We realize this, during the peak of summer having the splash pads turned off, is something kids aren’t looking forward to, but we also understand need to conserve as much water during this drought period,” San Marcos city spokeswoman Sarah Divan said.

Water districts across the region expressed thanks to their residents for their cooperation during the drought conditions.

“We sincerely appreciate all of the efforts our customers have taken to conserve, especially after the exceptional efforts they have already implemented after the last drought,” said Vallecitos spokeswoman Lisa Urabe, who provided several suggestions to assist customers with increased conservation efforts.

“There are many programs that can help ease the transition into greater water restrictions, such as rebates on rain barrels and replacing turf grass with drought tolerant plants,” she said, directing customers to the website



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