The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District, the water wholesaler for Southern California, voted Tuesday to make a 15 percent cut in the amount of water it supplies to its 26 member agencies, including the San Diego County Water Authority.
MWD officials said it was only the fourth time in the agency’s history that it has taken such an action.
“Southern California has led the way in water conservation for more than 20 years, and now we’re asking people to do significantly more,” said Randy Record, chairman of the MWD board. “We know it will be difficult, but we’re in an unprecedented drought.”
The amount of the cut to each city or agency would be based on their reliance on MWD supplies, while also taking into consideration conservation actions already being implemented.
The San Diego delegates voted for a higher cutback of 20 percent because of local conservation efforts and the new desalination plant in Carlsbad. The San Diego Water Authority will set final water delivery reductions for its 24 member agencies at a special meeting on May 14.
“While we don’t know exactly what the final conservation targets will be, it’s critical that every resident immediately eliminate unnecessary water use — severely restrict lawn watering, take shorter showers and fix leaks immediately,” said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the San Diego Water Authority. “We could be in for a very long road ahead, and we all need to step up. Taking all of these actions indoors and outdoors really does add up to a significant water savings across the region.”
MWD’s action was driven by extended hot and dry conditions statewide. Snow water content in the Sierra Nevada snowpack on April 1 was just 5 percent of its historical average — the lowest since snowpack records began in 1950 — which means there will be no significant runoff during the summer and fall when California’s water demands typically increase.
During severe drought conditions 1991 and 1992, MWD reduced supplies to the San Diego region by 31 percent for 13 months.
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