Frequently Asked Questions
Despite facing recurring multi-year droughts, California ranks very low in drought vulnerability. Thanks to a strong economy and well-developed adaptation measures, it’s better prepared for an extreme drought when it occurs than most other states. In particular, Southern California is well-prepared for this year’s critically dry conditions, thanks to sound planning and major investments by The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and local water districts including EMWD.
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding California’s Water Supply status.
What is a drought?
A drought is defined as a prolonged period with less-than-average amounts of rain or snow in a region. Drought severity is calculated from the amount of time that the region receives below-average precipitation. Variable climate in Southern California has become the norm. During previous times of drought, California residents have successfully used water efficiently, and have adopted a water-smart lifestyle even during normal to wet years. For more information regarding current drought status, visit drought.gov/states/California.
What is the current drought situation in the Inland Empire and the State?
In July 2021, Governor Newsom made formal drought declarations in many of California’s counties along with a statewide voluntary ask to reduce water use by at least 15% compared to 2020 usage. Riverside and San Bernardino counties were not included in the formal drought declarations but are still experiencing drought conditions. EMWD has spent decades preparing for dry conditions and is well equipped to meet the needs of our customers.
Current drought stage information for the Inland Empire and California can be found here.
How is EMWD preparing for these periods?
Water providers in the Inland Empire and across the State continually and proactively strive to use water efficiently and invest in projects to maximize water quality and supply. EMWD plans ahead for investments that reduce impacts of prolonged dry periods. By investing before dry conditions begin, your water supply is protected during variable weather periods. Customers, water providers and policy makers are at the front lines of water use efficiency and have supported investments in water supply resiliency across the region.
Is the availability and quality of my water the same during times of drought?
Yes, EMWD works diligently in both wet and dry years to provide high-quality water to your tap each day. Water providers prepare supplies for times of drought while meeting or exceeding State and Federal water quality guidelines, ensuring you have access to this essential resource when and where you need it.
Should I be using water efficiently?
Yes! During both wet and dry years, we encourage customers to use
this resource wisely. Your water travels a long journey to your
tap, and each drop counts to keep supplies ample for times of
greater need. Individual water use efficiency coupled with
investments and programs by water providers keep our region
well-prepared, no matter the conditions. To learn more about
efficiency measures including tips, rebates and more, visit the
What water-use restrictions are currently in place? Are there penalties for using too much water?
We like to say that water use efficiency is a way of life living in the Inland Empire. We support common-sense water-use practices that many of our customers already implement in their day-to-day lives. In addition to these practices, we have established the following requirements https://www.emwd.org/water-use-efficiency-requirements for enhanced water efficiency measures as we prepare for drought: www.emwd.org/water-shortage-contingency-plan.
Where does my water come from? Does my water source change during dry conditions?
Your water comes from a range of sources, but it is made up of a blend of supplies from the Colorado River, Northern California, and local sources. During dry years, local water supplies become especially important as imported sources may be limited. Water providers across the Inland Empire proactively invest and prepare for dry years and invest in projects that maximize use of local water supplies. To learn more about how EMWD is preparing for times of drought, visit www.emwd.org/water-supply.
Where can I stay up to date on steps to address drought in the Inland Empire?
EMWD anticipates cycles of dry conditions and has prepared to
maintain a diverse and high-quality water portfolio through any
climate. Visit EMWD’s website for more information on our
investments and actions to address dry conditions.
Want to Learn Even More? Additional Links and Resources
EMWD has provided a section on its website filled with tips and a
toolbox of ideas for using water
wisely. Customers are encouraged to visit and learn more
about water saving programs and rebates.
Landscapes for Living
Waterwise Landscape Toolbox
Waterwise Programs and Rebates
100 Ways to Conserve Water
For Kids: California Drought
Where Does Your Water Come From?