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EMWD Increases Drought Stage in Response to Regional Emergency Declarations

EMWD Increases Drought Stage in Response to Regional Emergency Declarations

November 18, 2021

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Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) Board of Directors this week urged customers who are exceeding their water budgets to eliminate wasteful practices as part of EMWD’s move into Stage 3a of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

The move to Stage 3a is a result of rapidly evolving drought conditions that prompted The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to declare an emergency drought status on November 9, 2021. The State of California has also declared a drought emergency.

MWD urged its member agencies, including EMWD, who rely on State Water Project (SWP) system water to enact increased conservation efforts as historic drought conditions have depleted SWP system reservoirs to record lows. EMWD relies on a portion of its water from Diamond Valley Lake, which was originally imported from the SWP system by MWD.

In Stage 3a, no variances are permitted for filling swimming pools, establishing new landscapes (except for Landscapes for Living participants), or leaks that are not repaired within 48 hours. EMWD will continue to ask customers to maintain their individualized water budgets.

“An overwhelming majority of our customers continue to do their part in using water efficiently and we thank them for their continued dedication in doing so,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. “Our Board felt moving to Stage 3A was appropriate because it recognized the need for heightened awareness in curbing wasteful habits while also maintaining EMWD as a statewide leader in doing its part to help stretch our limited statewide water supplies.”

On average, more than 80 percent of EMWD customers stay within their assigned water budget. EMWD will be conducting outreach to encourage customers who are exceeding their water budgets to “Step It Up” when it comes to reducing water use. That outreach will include information about programs EMWD has in place to help use water efficiently, including EMWD’s Landscapes for Living program, which offers tools such as weather-based irrigation controllers, drip systems, and rebates to remove grass and replace it with drought-tolerant landscaping.

EMWD recently upgraded its customer account portal to provide more resources to help customers better understand their water use, including hourly consumption figures and the ability to compare current and historical usage, plus alerts are sent if a customer is nearing their water budget threshold.

Any subsequent actions by EMWD will be determined by statewide water supply conditions and corresponding regulations and be done in accordance with EMWD’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

“For more than two decades, EMWD customers have embraced a culture of water use efficiency and those efforts are evident and appreciated,” Paule said. “Our hope is that our customers who do exceed their water budget will recognize this call to action and make small changes that will have a significant benefit to our water supplies and conservation efforts.”

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Eastern Municipal Water District is the water, wastewater and recycled water service provider to nearly one million people living and working within a 558-square mile service area in western Riverside County. It is California’s sixth-largest retail water agency, and its mission is “To deliver value to our diverse customers and the communities we serve by providing safe, reliable, economical and environmentally sustainable water, wastewater and recycled water services.”
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