FREMONT (KPIX) -- California water conservation experts sounded an alarm on Tuesday. They warned Bay Area residents to brace for a fourth dry year in a row, as the drought persists.
"We are making investments across the state and in the Bay Area to help build our resilience to drought and to climate change," said Wade Crowfoot, the California National Resources Agency Secretary. "The conservation actions we take now will pay off in water reliability later in the future."
People in the Bay Area have stepped up conservation efforts over the last several years.
The 1.4 million customers who get their water from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) reduced consumption by 16% in July when compared to 2020, and by 15% in August, according to General Manager Clifford Chan.
The 345,000 customers who get their water from the Alameda County Water District (ACWD) saved about 20% in July of this year when compared to 2020, according to General Manager Ed Stevenson.
However, with the drought persisting, Stevenson, Chan, Crowfoot, and several other leaders from Bay Area water agencies, say it's crucial for people to keep up with and improve conservation efforts.
"They've really done a great job, but we do need to do more. We need to keep our foot on the pedal," Stevenson said.
"Californians have stepped up before and we're asking them to step up again. But, we're pairing this conservation with generational investments in water recycling, desalination, and water storage, to ensure that moving forward – we're going to continue to experience these conditions – but we're going to be more well-equipped through investments we're making now," Crowfoot said. "We need everyone's help to stretch water supplies now."
Numerous Bay Area water companies offer rebates and free services to help people conserve.
"We freely provide a water conservation technician who will come out and evaluate the water needs of your home. They'll bring water saving devices like aerators and shower heads, evaluate your water use, and provide personalized recommendations on how to cut your water waste," said Dennis Herrera, the General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. "We offer rebates on efficient washing machines, rain barrels, and other water-using infrastructure."
As the Bay Area is set to experience a hot weekend, Crowfoot says it's a good time to fine-tune systems to ensure they aren't wasting water.
"This weekend is a great time to get out there, repair that leak in the yard, install drip irrigation, consider changing out lawns and taking advantage of incentives from our regional agencies," he said.
To learn more about rebates and water conservation resources, visit sfpuc.org.
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