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Region off Water Alert, but Agency maintains call for voluntary water conservation
A month after Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to the statewide drought emergency, Southern California’s largest wholesale water supplier, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) moved from their “Condition 2 – Water Supply Alert” to a Water Supply Watch and called for local agencies to continue voluntary conservation.
“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 MWD board Chairman Randy Record.
The voluntary approach is necessary given the importance of maintaining lower demand levels into the years ahead.
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 that allocation, MWD will have access to nearly 1.7 million acre-feet of water from the State Water Project and MWD is forecasting they will be able to put more water in storage in 2017 than any year in history.
“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,” general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger cautioned. “That’s why all of us should voluntarily continue to embrace our water-saving practices.”