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SFPUC Calls For 10% Voluntary Reduction In Water Use As It Declares Water Emergency

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is urging nearly 3 million water customers throughout the Bay Area to cut water usage by 10%, as it declares a water shortage emergency due to the ongoing drought.

"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," Mayor London Breed said in a statement Tuesday.

By declaring the emergency, the agency would be able to access water reserves and resources only available during emergencies, officials said.

Under the measure, customers are urged to reduce water usage by 10% compared to 2019-2020 levels. Along with providing water to San Francisco, the agency also has customers in portions of Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

According to city officials, the average San Francisco resident uses about 42 gallons of water per day at home, which is less than half of the statewide average.

"This emergency water shortage declaration will help all of our customers pull together and move in the same direction. We know we can rely on each other. I'm confident that everyone will do their part so we can all get through this," said Dennis Herrera, who became general manager of the SFPUC earlier this month.

As part of the declaration, the SFPUC will institute a 5% "temporary drought surcharge" for retail water and wastewater customers, which would be ended once the emergency declaration is lifted.

The surcharge would take effect on April 1, 2022.

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