The San Diego County Water Authority kicked off its summer push for water conservation this afternoon, asking all county residents to try to conserve at least 20 gallons of water a day.

The average water user drinks, washes, lawn waters and hoses their way through 180 gallons a day.

Seriously. One-hundred-eighty gallons a day.

Both of San Diego’s major water supplies are facing dry conditions. The Colorado River is in its eighth year of drought, and the winter snow that blanketed the Sierra Nevada contained just 40 percent of the water content it typically does. San Diego County relied on the two sources for 78 percent of its fresh drinking water last year.

The region, in recent years, has had to import up to 95 percent of its water a year from those two sources.

“Water is the lifeblood of San Diego,” Mayor Jerry Sanders said at a press conference earlier this afternoon. “We need to be careful with each precious drop of water. Right now, that need is even more apparent to all of us.”

The water authority is offering a host of tips for people to conserve water. Here’s a no-brainer: Use a broom to clean off your driveway instead of a hose. That can save 20 gallons a minute, the authority estimates.

ROB DAVIS

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