San Franciscans cut back their water use 18 percent 

Recent rain has helped with alleviate the drought emergency in San Francisco and the Bay Area. - BEN MARGOT/AP
  • Ben Margot/AP
  • Recent rain has helped with alleviate the drought emergency in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
San Francisco is learning its drought lessons — just in time for what is shaping up to be a dry and sunny March.

Water use in The City is down 18 percent since the end of January, when the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission first asked customers to voluntary cut back by 10 percent.

A series of much-needed storms in February bumped the snowpack in the Sierra by about 10 percent, according to the SFPUC. That means California is no longer in the worst drought in its settled history — but the emergency remains.

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park, from which about 85 percent of the SFPUC's water supply is derived, is at half-capacity.

The City's homes and businesses use 95 percent of the water delivered to San Francisco, according to the SFPUC. The average customer uses about 48.7 gallons of water a day, a figure that has stayed relatively constant in recent years.

However, water use by San Francisco's bureaucracy is up.

Entities that include the Department of Public Works and Recreation and Park Department have seen water use increase by about 12.5 percent over the past year, according to the City Controller's Office.

The City uses about 149.1 million gallons a month, up from 142.9 million gallons a year ago.

By contrast, water customers used about 63 million gallons a day in February, according to the SFPUC. That's down from about 67 million gallons a day at the end of January.

There's a chance of some rain today and Monday, according to the National Weather Service, with clear skies expected for much of the rest of the month.

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has worked as a reporter in San Francisco since 2008, with an emphasis on city governance and politics, The City’s neighborhoods, race, poverty and the drug war.
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