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SFPUC urges water conservation to avoid mandatory rationing

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission gave its mid-year water supply update Monday and announced that the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System storage is at less than 65 percent capacity.

The water system storage is at 64.5 percent of maximum storage capacity and all available snowpack has melted as of this week, SFPUC officials said.

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park can store up to 117 billion gallons of drinking water that is used for the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System that provides water for 2.6 million San Francisco area customers.

In what is one of the worst droughts in recent years, the SFPUC asked customers at the start of the year to reduce water consumption by 10 percent.

Since then, about 1.4 billion gallons of water have been saved, which is 17 percent of the SFPUC's year-end goal of saving 8 billion gallons.

According to the SFPUC, if conservation trends continue there will be less of a chance of mandatory water rationing.

SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly Jr. said in a statement Monday that water rationing is still a possibility, "Every customer needs to redouble their conservation efforts so we can stretch water supplies into 2015 and beyond."

A summer water conservation campaign has kicked off and in an effort to entice more saving, the SFPUC is increasing rebate amounts for replacing old toilets, urinals and washing machines starting in July.

Customers are asked to evaluate water consumption at home and work and try to take shorter showers, turn off running taps, run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine, limit outside watering, and other water-saving measures.

— Bay City News Service

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