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Working Together Through the Drought

By Denise Valenzuela

Posted in

Your Role in the Drought: Conservation
Conservation starts with you and adds up to big regional savings. Collectively, reductions in outdoor water use, and the smarter use of water indoors, is saving Southern California annually more than 300 billion gallons of water– enough for San Diego and Los Angeles for a year. The region has added 5 million people in the last generation without increasing water demand. But more conservation is needed as the drought goes into its fourth year. Every gallon saved is a gallon kept in reserve for a more reliable future.
Conservation isn’t just for extraordinary droughts. It is a way of life for Southern California and all of the state. Replacing turf with California-friendly plants is an example of an individual conservation action that can add up to big savings. Information on rebates, landscaping and other water-saving tips can be found online.
Southern California is one region when it comes to water. The Metropolitan Water District imports about half of the six-county region’s overall supply from the Colorado River and Northern California and holds water in storage in case of drought. When Metropolitan must limit supplies during an extraordinary drought cycle, local mandatory conservation becomes the norm. Metropolitan’s Water Supply Allocation Plan was created to approach drought in a regional, fair manner to minimize impacts.

Setting the Allocation: A Careful Balancing Act During Drought:

On April 14, 2015, the Metropolitan Board voted to impose a Level 3 allocation starting in
July. While numbers will vary among agencies based on local conditions, this is roughly a
15% reduction in wholesale water use on a regional level and establishes a surcharge of
roughly four times the normal price of an acre foot of water for use beyond the allocated
amount. Funds collected from the surcharge will go toward additional conservation. The
allocation plan is one tool Metropolitan will be using to support the Governor’s call for a
25% reduction in urban water use statewide, along with conservation programs, rebates,
accelerated state funding for projects, and enforcement actions.
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