Last week the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) Board of Directors adopted a drought resolution in response to current water supply conditions and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s (MWD) Water Shortage Emergency Condition declaration in April. This resolution declares a Water Shortage Emergency Condition, activating Level 3 of the Agency’s Water Storage Contingency Plan, and adopts an Emergency Water Conservation Program Framework (EWCP).
“California’s precipitation through the end of this year is projected to be the driest on record, snowpack is shrinking, and reservoirs have hit all-time lows. These water supply challenges have led to unprecedented drought conditions,” stated IEUA Board Vice President and MWD Board Member Michael Camacho. “The Board recognizes the severity and need for water reductions across the region and State. We must all work together to ensure water reliability today and for the future.”
The EWCP addresses MWD’s second pathway option identified in their recent drought resolution. This pathway allows agencies to follow specific limits determined by Human Health & Safety water provided by the Department of Water Resources and additional State Water Project (SWP) supplies available from MWD. The Agency will allocate volumetric limits to its Customer Agencies based on average imported water purchase percentages from FY 2018-20. This pathway will support the region in achieving real water savings.
“The EWCP Framework establishes a collaborative, coordinated course of action to provide flexibility and support for our Customer Agencies and the specific needs of their regions. Our goal is to conserve at least twenty to thirty percent of our supplies as we continue to plan for the dry months ahead,” continued Camacho.
To alleviate the impacts of the current drought and reduce the effects of future severe and multi-year droughts, IEUA and its Customer Agencies have been collaborating with MWD to implement water-saving and conservation programs and messaging throughout the region. IEUA’s EWCP will preserve the region’s remaining resources as the Agency continues to develop and implement real solutions to resolve future water supply challenges. A prime example of real water solutions is the Chino Basin Program (CBP). Yesterday, IEUA’s Board also approved the Program Environmental Impact Report for the CBP, a Water Storage Investment Program, in support of the Agency’s actions to build local resiliency.
“The CBP will increase local groundwater production, diversify the Agency’s water portfolio, reduce local demand for imported water, and in turn, help other MWD SWP dependent areas,” stated IEUA Board President Steve Elie. “Initiatives like the CBP are especially important when considering the future of water. The time is now to work together, to continue to plan for the future, and to implement plans and projects to save our precious water resources.”