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San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Issues Mid-Year Water Supply Update
8 billion gallons of water savings needed to avoid mandatory rationing
Posted Date: 6/23/2014 1:00 PM

San Francisco, CA – Today, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) issued its mid-year water supply update. As of this week, total Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System storage stands at 64.5% of maximum storage capacity and all available snowpack has melted.

On January 31, 2014 the SFPUC asked its retail and wholesale customers to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 10%.  This goal translates into approximately 8.0 billion gallons of water saved by the end of the year. To-date, customers have only saved 1.4 billion gallons of water or 17% of our year-end goal.

While SFPUC customers got off to a slow start this year, water use has significantly declined over the past few weeks. Only if this conservation trend continues, will the SFPUC be able to stave off the possibility of mandatory rationing.

“We are not out of the woods yet.  Mandatory rationing is still on the table,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “Every customer needs to redouble their conservation efforts so we can stretch water supplies into 2015 and beyond.”

This summer the SFPUC is launching a multi-lingual, citywide public education campaign to promote water conservation through behavioral changes and plumbing upgrades. These public service announcements will appear throughout the City in or on newspapers, bus shelters, TV stations, buses and much more.

“The SFPUC’s new public service advertisements are the perfect antidote for this summer’s water conservation blues,” said Vince Courtney, SFPUC Commission President. “Droughts are serious, but that doesn’t mean conservation can’t be fun and easy.”

To help people conserve,  the SFPUC  is increasing rebate amounts for replacing old toilets, urinals and clothes washers to up to $500 a piece effective July. The SFPUC is also encouraging its customers to sign up for My Account, a recently launched online portal where SFPUC  account holders can view their daily water use and see how it compares to average users in San Francisco.

The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) and the 26 wholesale customers of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System are also taking similar steps to promote water conservation, including a regional drought education campaign created in partnership with the SFPUC.   Accordingly, usage by these member agencies and their customers has also declined significantly over the past few weeks.

“As the summer months heat up, we need to sustain the recent conservation momentum to avoid mandatory rationing later this year,” said Nicole Sandkulla, CEO of BAWSCA. “BAWSCA and our member agencies will continue to aggressively reinforce water-wise practices.”

To help meet our water reduction goals, SFPUC customers should assess their property’s water use and take immediate action to:   

  • Minimize all indoor water use – Shorter showers. Don’t let the tap run. Run only full loads in dishwashers and clothes washers
  • Limit landscape watering to no more than twice per week and adjust irrigation to avoid overspray and runoff
  • Minimize water used to clean sidewalks and outdoor surfaces unless required for public health purposes
  • Provide water only upon request at restaurants
  • Minimize car washing or use a commercial car wash; avoid washing cars at home

In addition, everyone should repair or replace inefficient or leaking equipment as soon as possible, including:

  • Installing water-efficient aerators on faucets that don’t have them
  • Installing water-efficient showerheads if not already in place
  • Fixing toilet, shower, faucet and irrigation system leaks
  • Replacing old toilets, urinals and clothes washers

The SFPUC offers free onsite water-wise evaluations, plumbing devices and other materials, as well as rebates for replacing old toilets, urinals, clothes washers, and other equipment.   All San Francisco residents can receive free, water-efficient kitchen sink aerators and showerheads just by walking into 525 Golden Gate Avenue with proof of address, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. It’s that easy.

For specific information about water conservation rebates offered by the SFPUC and BAWSCA, please visit and