LW water bill is lower than last year’s but more needs to be done
The severity of water shortages throughout the west prompted the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to declare a “water supply alert” last week.
Local reservoirs have enough imported water for Southern Californians to weather the drought into next year, according to water officials. But it’s time to start conserving that supply to ward off harsher restrictions.
Specifically the “water supply alert” triggered a call for a voluntary 15-percent reduction in water use. That reduction could help delay more serious water mandates, including limiting supplies to the 26 local water agencies served by MWD and issuing fines for excessive use. In Leisure World, residents have heard the call for water conservation. This month’s GRF water bill reflected a 35-percent reduction in water compared to last year’s use. So keep up the good work by sweeping sidewalks and patios instead of hosing them down, taking shorter showers and fixing leaky faucets. Rebates for low-water use washing machines, toilets and sprinkler nozzles are available at bewaterwise.com.
The MWD distributes water from the Colorado River and northern California. The decision to seek the voluntary cutback came shortly after the federal government declared a water shortage in the Colorado River for the first time. The move mandates an 18-percent reduction of the river water for Arizona and 7 percent for Nevada — as well as reductions for Mexico — beginning Jan. 1.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a drought emergency for 50 of the California’s 58 counties. Southern California has been spared that declaration so far, although the state’s call for voluntary reductions applies to all counties.
During the 2007-2009 drought, people made changes that led to long-term water savings, thanks to MWD initiatives that included drought-proof landscaping and low-flow toilets and showers. The MWD has also been building reservoir and aquifer storage, increasing capacity roughly 13-fold since the 1990s.
While the current drought began in 2020, the MWD didn’t begin tapping reserves until this year, according to news reports. On Jan. 1, it had a record 3.2 million acre feet in storage and expects to tap about 600,000 acre feet of that to help fulfill an anticipated 2021 demand for imported water of 1.75 million acre feet. An acre foot is enough for about nine people a year. The MWD serves 19 million people in six counties.