San Diego, California - San Diego County got a few little April showers. What does that mean in relation to the statewide drought? Unfortunately, not much. That means we all need to do our part to prevent water waste.

The normal rainy season is nearing its end and rainfall amounts remain about half of a normal season throughout the state. The National Weather Service Climate Weather Prediction Service shows all of California in a persisting or increasing drought condition through June.

In January, the Governor declared a statewide drought-related state of emergency after two dry years in a row and an extraordinarily dry start to 2014. More specifically, the U.S. Drought Monitor lists the San Diego region as being in state of extreme drought.

“For San Diego, we are running about 13 inches behind (in rainfall) since January 2011. That is more than one full season of precipitation lost,” said Alex Tardy, Warning and Partner Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in San Diego.

Tardy said since October, San Diego has experienced the fifth warmest winter in the County’s history. January through early April months rank as the number one warmest period in the County’s history. This drought is drier than the 2006-2007 drought, and is comparable to the droughts in 2001-2002 and 1976-1977, Tardy said.

Yet, drought conditions are worse in Riverside and Orange Counties. Those areas are about two feet below normal since 2011, he said.

In response to the severe drought conditions across the state and a Level 1 drought watch issued in San Diego County, residents are being encouraged to voluntarily decrease water usage.

“Because our region has diversified its water sources and we’ve been aggressive with conservation, San Diego is faring far better than neighbors to our north,” said Holly Crawford, director of the County Office of Emergency Services, which communicates with regional water partners and updates the state’s weekly drought reports. “Despite that, we can’t afford to be complacent. Long-range climate predictions are not working in our favor so it’s important that we take action now to conserve. Each of us can make a difference.”

The San Diego County Water Authority, an independent public agency that provides the water supply for the region, states it does not anticipate water supply shortages in the region this year, but is asking all residents to voluntarily cut back on their water usage to maintain our water storage levels.

The San Diego County Water Authority recommends that residents take advantage of seminars and programs that can help residents and businesses be water-wise. Many of these programs and tips below will also help reduce your water bill and help you conserve your money!

Some simple tips to conserve water at home:

  • Fix leaky faucets and toilets
  • Install aerators with flow restrictors on kitchen and bathroom faucets
  • Shorten showers
  • Don’t leave water running when rinsing dishes
  • Run the dishwasher and clothes washers only when they have full loads
  • Turn off the water when brushing teeth
  • Consider replacing older, high water volume flushing toilets and clothes washers
  • Water landscaping before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. to reduce evaporation
  • Don’t overwater landscaping
  • Avoid using a hose to wash off pavement, when a broom can be used
  • Adjust automatic sprinklers to avoid overspray
  • Fix broken and leaky sprinkler nozzles
  • Consider a Water Smart landscape (and fire-resistant too)
  • Add mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation

More water conservation tips, tools and resources can be found at WaterSmartSD.org.