After conservation rates started disappointingly slow, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission was pleased to announce Monday that in the last month alone, consumers more than doubled the amount of water saved since February.
The SFPUC, which services San Francisco and wholesales to many San Mateo County providers, issued a 10 percent voluntary reduction request on Jan. 31, 2014, in hopes of saving 8 billion gallons of water by the end of the year.
Between Feb. 1 and June 23, consumers only managed to save 1.4 billion gallons. However, as of July 23, that number swelled to 3.1 billion gallons, SFPUC spokesman Charles Sheehan said.
“We’re making up for lost ground earlier in the year and as long as we continue the trend, we should be able to meet our 10 percent goal by the end of the year,” Sheehan said.
Currently, the Hetch Hetchy storage system stands at just 63 percent of capacity and any available snowpack that would have contributed has melted.
Based on the three-year dry spell, Sheehan said the SFPUC determined setting an 8 billion gallon conservation goal would help create a cushion for the possibility of continued drought years.
Due to the slow start, SFPUC consumers have currently only reduced consumption by about 6.6 percent in comparison to this time last year, SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue said previously. However, officials are hopeful their conservation messages are gaining traction.
Monday’s mid-summer conservation update was a welcomed contrast to the SFPUC’s mid-year update in late June, which showed its 2.6 million Bay Area consumers were far from meeting its year-end goal.
Although the year is more than half over and consumers still have a lot to save to meet the 8 billion gallon mark, SFPUC officials are hopeful the continued trend will help it reach its goal.
“Over the past two months, our customers have successfully accelerated their conservation efforts and more than doubled the total water savings,” SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly Jr. said in a press release. “We’re hoping the surge of aggressive conservation by our customers continues for the rest of the year.”