SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY – The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) decided, Tuesday, to terminate the Emergency Water Conservation Program after winter storms increased water supply. The termination lifts the restricted outdoor watering placed on nearly 7 million Southern California residents last summer.
“We know these last nine months were a sacrifice for the dozens of communities under mandatory restrictions. On behalf of Metropolitan, I want to express our deep appreciation to all those who helped us stretch our available water supplies to get us through the acute emergency,” said MWD board chair Adán Ortega, Jr.
The district supplies water for 19 million people in six counties including San Bernardino.
According to the district from 2020 to 2022, California saw the three driest years in its history. This resulted in historic low deliveries from the State Water Project. The MWD board cites improved hydrology beginning in late December that increased the amount of available water.
“While the board’s action reflects improvements in the availability of State Water Project supplies, storage reserves have been drawn down and significant challenges remain to the region’s other source of imported water – the Colorado River,” states MWD in a news release.
The district says residents and businesses across the region should still use water as efficiently as possible. This is to refill storage and prepare for potential steep cuts to supplies from the Colorado River.
Colorado River Depletion
The federal government has directed the seven basin states that rely on the river, including California, to develop plans to cut their use of the river beginning in 2024. According to MWD, this is to prevent the Colorado River’s reservoirs from dropping to catastrophic levels.
MWD General Manager Adel Hagekhalil said that the district is committed to making the necessary investments to safeguard the region’s water supplies amid rapid swings in weather that have become part of the climate reality for California.
“These climate conditions are an unfortunate reality that make water management today increasingly challenging,” said Hagekhalil.
MWD says the region remains under a water supply alert. They call for consumers and businesses to voluntarily continue to reduce their water use.
For more information about MWD visit https://www.mwdh2o.com/