San Francisco officials call for 10% reduction of water use

San Francisco officials have declared a water shortage emergency and are asking customers in four counties to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10% due to California’s lengthening drought.

The request made Tuesday took effect immediately and applies to all 2.7 million customers of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

"With California still experiencing devastating drought and the uncertainty around this rainy season, we need to make tough decisions that will ensure that our water source continues to be reliable and dependable for the future," Mayor London N. Breed said in a statement.

Customers who don’t meet the conservation goal will see a surcharge of up to 5% on their bills starting April 1.

Last summer, California Gov. Gavin Newsom asked the state’s nearly 40 million residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 15% this year, but data released last week shows few people are doing that.

Californians reduced their water use by just 3.9% in September, down from 5.1% in August. Overall, California has reduced its water consumption by just 3.6% since July.

Earlier this month, the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California declared a regional drought emergency and called for increased conservation.