As drought conditions persist throughout California, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials are encouraging homeowners to utilize their services to find ways to conserve water.

During a recent evaluation at a home in the city’s Miraloma Park neighborhood, SFPUC officials said conserving water during these times is crucial for the environment.

“Climate change definitely is making our water supply less predictable. The snow is melting sooner, so we can’t count on the same amounts of snow melts. Snow melts is the primary way that we fill our reservoirs. Fire season is starting sooner and that draws on water too,” SFPUC Water Conservation Manager Julie Ortiz said.

“We did have a lot of rain in December, but we haven’t for January or February, in fact, January and February are among some of the driest on record in California and we’re pretty much at the end of the water year and not looking at much left,” she said.

Under the SFPUC’s Water Wise Evaluation service, homeowners are eligible for a free water usage evaluation by SFPUC, which could help identify leaks or old water-wasting appliances.

Ortiz said, “It’s a longstanding, very popular program. In terms of savings, it can vary from house to house, but we’ve definitely seen some homes that can achieve 10 or 15 percent water savings based on their usage and it could potentially be even more.”

Due to the dry conditions, back in November, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission declared a water shortage emergency, calling for water usage reductions across its system, including a 5 percent reduction for San Francisco and 13.5 percent for SFPUC customers in San Mateo, Alameda, and Santa Clara counties.

The water shortage emergency declaration also calls for a 5 percent drought surcharge for customers, which took effect in April. The temporary surcharge will remain in effect until the water emergency is lifted.

More conservation information can be found on the SFPUC website.