Water shortage emergency declared in San Francisco

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission members along with Mayor London Breed (D) on Tuesday declared a water shortage emergency. 

In a vote on Tuesday, the commission adopted a system-wide water reduction use of 10 percent, an announcement from the mayor's office said.

To accomplish their goal, the group plans to ask city residents to cut water usage by 5 percent in addition to asking agencies in other California counties that purchase water from San Francisco to cut their use by 14 percent, according to The San Francisco Chronicle


To ensure that the city is able to finance its water systems, a 5 percent surcharge, the amount that they are asking residents to cut, will also be imposed on water usage. The charge is expected to increase people's bills by $6 per month at most, the statement from the mayor added.

As the drought persists in California, San Francisco’s reservoir supply is at nearly 73 percent capacity. At this time of year, 80 percent capacity would be considered normal. Roughly one-third of that supply, however, is not able to be touched because of state policies regarding the drought, the Chronicle reported.

“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,” Breed said in the statement. “Year after year, San Franciscans step up to conserve our most precious resource, resulting in one of the lowest water usage rates in California, and during this critical time, I know that our City will once again meet the call to reduce water use."

In California, people use an average of 90 gallons per day, notably more than people in San Francisco's average daily water use of 42 gallons per day, the announcement added.