Mayor Jerry Sanders today announced a series of three public meetings to gather input and discuss the city’s proposed plan for passing possible water cuts through to customers.

The Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District, this region’s major supplier, will consider in April whether to reduce deliveries to San Diego and other Southern California cities. If expected cuts come, city residents would have to reduce use to avoid heavy financial penalties. The city is developing a methodology to reduce water use.

The city plans to use a household’s water use from 2005 to 2007 as the baseline. Residents would have to cut that baseline use a specific percentage or pay penalty rates two to four times higher.

Sanders said determining how to recognize and not penalize households who have already instituted water conservation steps has been “the biggest debate we’ve had.” He made no guarantees that allocations would be divided fairly but said that was a reason he wanted to gather public input.

“You’re never going to make everybody happy,” he said. “In fact we’ll probably upset everybody to some extent. And that probably is going to mean that we’re in the ballpark of where we should be.”

Sanders said the city will not penalize those residents whose consumption is below average. The city hopes to target consumers who are heavy irrigators by comparing their use in the winter (when sprinklers are typically off) with use in summer (when sprinklers are spewing to keep grass green).

The meetings all run from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will be held:

  • Monday, Feb. 9 in the Otay Mesa-Nestor Branch Library.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 10 in the Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library.
  • Thursday, Feb. 12 in the Balboa Park War Memorial Building, Room 3.

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