LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Poised to put more water in storage in 2017 than any year in history, Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors today urged local agencies to continue water savings through voluntary conservation measures.
A month after Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to the statewide drought emergency, Metropolitan’s board approved the voluntary approach given the importance of maintaining lower levels of demands into the years ahead. Officially, a voluntary conservation approach is termed by Metropolitan a Water Supply Watch condition.
“This level reflects the public’s remarkable water-saving response and our conservation and outreach programs prior to and during the five-year drought, which were critical in helping us sustain demand cutbacks,” said Metropolitan board Chairman Randy Record.
“As our current advertising and outreach campaign says, the drought emergency may be over, but we all need to get in the lifelong habit of saving water,” he added.
Water supply gains from significantly improved statewide hydrologic conditions were another reason for the board’s action. Last month, California broke the record for the wettest year ever in the northern Sierra, prompting the Department of Water Resources to increase its State Water Project allocation to 85 percent. Under the allocation, Metropolitan will have access to nearly 1.7 million acre-feet of water from the state project this year.
Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the district will maximize state project deliveries by putting as much as 1 million acre-feet of water or more in reserves this year. (An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough water to supply two typical Southland households for a year.)
“Although 1 million acre-feet would be the largest single-year storage increase in Metropolitan’s history, it will not return regional reserves to pre-drought levels,” Kightlinger cautioned. “That’s why all of us should voluntarily continue to embrace our water-saving practices.”
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.