More water available for customers

As the weather heats up, Sweetwater Authority customers will be able to use a little more water this summer.

The Sweetwater Authority water  board recently approved to rescind the Level 2 Drought Alert status and resume a Level 1 Drought Watch.

Sweetwater Authority is a publicly owned water agency that serves National City, Bonita and the western and central portions of Chula Vista.

Previously the board enacted a Level 2 Drought response when the state of California declared a statewide drought that handed down water conservation requirements. Under a Level 2 response, customers were prohibited from watering their yard on certain days.

But now with drought conditions improving, the Sweetwater Authority board decided it was best to go back down to a Level 1.

“Because the drought has been reduced in terms of severity, we have been given the green light to go ahead and relax some of those prohibitions on water use,” said South Bay Irrigation board member Steve Castaneda.

The South Bay Irrigation District is under the same  umbrella as Sweetwater Authority and oversees water usage in western Chula Vista.

While a  Level 1 Drought response takes off some restrictions, customers are encouraged to continue to use waster judiciously, Castaneda said.

“While we don’t have hard and fast rules anymore and a lot of uses for water as we did a week ago, we’re still asking customers to save water because we’re still in a drought prone area and we have to conserve water.”

Castaneda said  there are still some rules placed by the state that customers must follow such as  hosing off sidewalks, using a shut off nozzle when washing a car, vessel or boat and use re-circulated water for a decorative fountain in a yard or business. Customers must also not water their lawn 48-hours after it rains.

Other than those small restrictions, Castaneda said customers can use more water under a Level 1.

Castaneda said the San Diego region and its local water supplies has not been affected by the drought as much as other parts of the state.

“Our customers and Sweetwater (Authority) have done a really good job in  terms of really conserving water  and that has caused less revenue to come to the water district and we are dealing with that,” Castaneda said. “ With the Level 2, customers’ landscaping doesn’t have to die and hopefully people can be in the position to beautify Chula Vista a little bit and that’s what we are hoping for.”