The city of San Diego’s Water Department has updated its frequently asked questions page on water cuts to remove incorrect information it has been touting about the difficulties of instituting a different, more equitable plan. The city has rejected the idea of basing reductions on how much water residents should use — rather than on their historical use.

I pointed out the errors in a message yesterday to Bill Harris, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders. The page was updated today.

Here’s what it says now:

Q. Why not base the allocation on lot size or other objective criteria, such as number of household occupants, amount of irrigated landscape, and/or the number of plumbing fixtures?

A. Perhaps the fairest way to proceed would be to base individual allocations on specific site characteristics, such as the size of the house, the number of people who live there, and the size of the lot.

The answer previously said this:

A. Perhaps the fairest way to proceed would be to base individual allocations on specific site characteristics, such as the size of the house, the number of people who live there, and the size of the lot.

Unfortunately, that approach is not feasible in the time frame under which we must operate. The information needed for individual site assessments is not retained by the Water Department. Assembling it would require the extraction and compilation of data from other agencies, as well as a house-by-house census.

Irvine Ranch adopted this approach, and it had to conduct individual surveys of each of its customers’ property. It is a much smaller agency than the City Water Department — with 90,000 accounts as opposed to 270,000 accounts — and the process took many years to complete. In addition, individual property surveys could cost us millions of dollars that we do not currently have in our budget.

An Irvine Ranch official told me that individual surveys weren’t needed and their implementation didn’t take years to complete.

ROB DAVIS

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