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On top of the city’s recently announced water restrictions, San Diego will inevitably have to scale back on some of its recreational go-tos.

According to the San Diego County Water Authority, the ongoing drought has been upgraded from a “watch” to an “alert.” This means that additional restrictions will be placed on top of the mandatory restrictions.

But the drought’s impact extends beyond your personal water usage. It’s hampering community activities as well.

Here are three ways the drought is sucking the fun out San Diego leisure.

Fall Traditions

Apple-picking should be in season, but not this year.

Because of the drought, many orchards have had to cancel the autumnal activity. Conrad Young, owner of Calico Ranch in Julian, told NBC 7 the dirt aisles that were once flush with apples have been reduced to pebbles, sand and dried leaves.

[Young] has 20 acres worth of apple trees but this year all 4,000 of his trees have something in common.

“There are just no apples to be had in this whole orchard. I’ve never seen it like this, ever,” Young told NBC 7.

For the first time in 30 years, Young’s well is drawn down to where it can no longer continuously produce water. Instead of tripping on apples, he’s kicking up dust.

The few trees that do have fruit are really not yielding much and are hardly worth picking …

Under drought conditions the trees have a harder time fighting off pests and disease. Their roots are stressed and their limbs are dying.

Orchards are still open in Julian, but some are only taking picking groups by appointment rather than accepting groups on a drop-in basis.

Golf Courses

10News reported earlier this summer Carmel Highland Golf Course will be closing next year partly because of the drought. The rising costs of water have forced golf course owners to water only certain sections.  “We’ve cut off watering our rough areas and concentrating relocating the heads to the fairways and concentrating on our greens and tees,” course general manager Howard Fujimoto told 10News.

The North County Times put into perspective how much of a drain San Diego’s golf courses really are.

For golf courses, water usage varies depending on the size, but it’s not uncommon for a course to consume more than 400,000 gallons in one summer day. With more than 80 golf courses in San Diego County alone, that’s plenty of water being sprayed around. According to Golf Digest, U.S. courses each use an average of 300,000 gallons a day

Pool Industry

City restrictions could be putting the pool industry under pressure. Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that 37 water agencies and cities have set up restrictions on water use in swimming pools.

More than three dozen water agencies and local cities are cracking down on water use in swimming pools with rules that range from requiring a pool cover to prevent evaporation to banning residents from draining and refilling older ones that need repairs.

So far, the rules implemented by water districts haven’t put much of a dent in business, but those in the industry worry that could come if the drought lingers and restrictions tighten.

The city of San Diego has only restricted the overfilling of pools and spas.

Michelle Monroy

Michelle was a reporting intern for Voice of San Diego during the fall of 2014. You can reach her by email.

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