LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In what is shaping up as a fourth straight drought year in California, Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors today selected a Los Angeles-based advertising firm to continue to aggressively promote region-wide conservation in 2015 and maintain water reserves for future years.
The board awarded Quigley-Simpson & Heppelwhite, Inc. a $5.5 million contract to work with Metropolitan in developing a comprehensive, culturally diverse, multimedia advertising and outreach campaign that carries the district’s urgent call for Southern Californians to continue reducing their water use.
In another water management development, the board voted to enter the water market and bolster the region’s available supplies by authorizing up to $71 million to secure up to 100,000 acre-feet of additional supplies through one-year water transfers with Sacramento Valley water districts. (An acre-foot of water is nearly 326,000 gallons, about the amount used by two typical Southland households in a year.)
“Today’s actions position us to better withstand and respond to continuing drought conditions,” said Metropolitan board Chairman Randy Record. “A successful education and advertising campaign will further motivate Southland consumers and businesses to conserve even more water and eliminate wasteful practices. The water transfers will augment regional supplies to meet demands this year.”
Metropolitan’s expected deliveries from Northern California through the State Water Project are currently projected at 20 percent. The SWP typically provides about a third of the Southland’s water. Meanwhile, storage in the district’s other supply source—the Colorado River—stands at less than 50 percent of capacity after 15 drought years in the Southwest.
Metropolitan will work with Quigley-Simpson & Heppelwhite in coming months to craft a multilingual, multi-ethnic and multi-generational advertising campaign highlighting the need for water savings. The campaign, to be coordinated with Metropolitan’s 26 member public agencies, will encourage consumers and businesses to make water conservation and water awareness a permanent part of the Southern California lifestyle.
General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the campaign will supplement Metropolitan’s ongoing conservation programs, including the $100 million in rebates for water-saving appliances and landscape improvements approved by the board since Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency drought declaration last year.
“While the ad campaign will press the need for heightened water conservation this summer when water use is highest, our outreach efforts need to be adaptable to changing climate and water supply conditions as they play out through the year,” Kightlinger said.
“Even if wetter conditions prevail in coming months, low reservoir levels on the State Water Project, the Colorado River and in Southern California underscore the need to continue prudent use of our remaining supplies,” he added.
Metropolitan’s board is scheduled to decide next month whether it will need to restrict deliveries to its member agencies through its allocation plan based on an update of weather and supply conditions.
The water transfers authorized by the board will provide additional supplies that complement conserving water locally to help maintain critical water reserves, Kightlinger said.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a 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.