SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) may impose mandatory water rationing for the first time in more than 20 years. Despite the continuing drought, the commission says it appears that many in the Bay Area are not heeding the call to conserve water.

Water officials have been advising Bay Area residents to conserve water for months, but according to the commission, there’s no consistent change in the user’s behavior.

“Generally, people have been using less after it rains and using more when it warms back up. That’s of concern to us that there’s not a consistent decrease in usage that we’re seeing out there,” said the SFPUC’s Steve Ritchie.

The agency called for 10-percent voluntary reductions in water use in January and if that target isn’t met they may impose mandatory restrictions with customers getting a set amount of water and facing penalties for overuse.

“We have a regional water system here so we have plans for how we would deal with it in the city itself, but also all of our customers outside of San Francisco. Each one of them would operate on a water budget and would pay an excess use charge if there was too much water used,” he said.

The SFPUC serves San Francisco, as well as parts of the Peninsula and the East Bay. The last time the agency called for mandatory water reductions was in the early 90s.

The commission will meet with its wholesale customers on June 15th to evaluate the situation and decide what further measures to take, if any.


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