Customers in San Francisco have been asked to reduce their water consumption or pay a surcharge.
According to the Associated Press, San Francisco officials have declared a water shortage emergency, asking people in four counties to reduce their water usage by 10% or face a fee on their bills.
The decision was made in reaction to California’s worsening drought. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced on Tuesday that over 2.7 million of its customers will be affected immediately.
San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo counties are among those affected. All four of these counties are classified as D3 (Extreme Drought) or D4 (Exceptional Drought) on the U.S. Drought Monitor’s map showing conditions in California. These are the highest and second-highest levels of its five-category classification, respectively, suggesting that fires occur throughout the year and that water supplies are insufficient for agriculture, wildlife, and urban demands, among other difficulties.
Starting April 1, customers who do not accomplish the water reduction objective will pay fees of up to 5% on their water bills. According to CNN, this might cost users an extra $6 each month on average.
“With California still suffering from a severe drought and the uncertainty surrounding this rainy season, we must make difficult decisions to guarantee that our water supply remains sustainable and trustworthy for the foreseeable future,” Mayor London N. Breed said in a statement.
According to CBS San Francisco, the declaration will give the Utilities Commission access to water reserves that are only used in emergency cases.
According to city officials, the average San Francisco resident uses less than half of the statewide average of 42 gallons of water per day at home.
California has been enduring one of the most severe droughts since the late 1800s, according to data from the US Drought Monitor. Furthermore, the region has been plagued by wildfires, scorching heat, and a lack of precipitation.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom requested the state’s roughly 40 million citizens to reduce water use by 15% this year voluntarily, but new data released last week suggests that few people are following through.
In September, Californians used 3.9 percent less water than they did in August, down from 5.1 percent in August. Since then, California’s water use has decreased by only 3.6 percent. This is a condensed version of the information.