SF Water Use Efficient, but State Restrictions Would be Challenging, Official Says

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a key source for water in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a key source for water in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

California is back in a drought, and in many parts of the state the drought is extreme. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, urban water use today is about 16% less than it was at the beginning of the state’s last drought because of continuing conservation. San Francisco’s residential water use is among the lowest among large cities in California, said Steven Ritchie, assistant general manager for water for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Ritchie joined “Civic” to explain how the city sources and uses its water, and why it is fighting state restrictions on the use of Tuolumne River water.

“San Franciscans average use of about 42 gallons per person per day on residential, and for a large urban area, that’s the best in California. But these restrictions might make us have to basically cut that by another 30%. So down to about 30 gallons per person per day. We can get good at it. We don’t think we can get that good at it.”

— Steven Ritchie

A segment from our radio show and podcast, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify or Stitcher