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EMWD Relaxes Drought Water Use Regulations

EMWD Relaxes Drought Water Use Regulations

April 19, 2023

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Historic winter storms have provided much needed relief to California's water supplies.

Eastern Municipal Water District today announced it is moving into Stage 1 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan after record-setting rain and snowfall throughout the state this winter helped reverse California’s historic drought conditions.

EMWD had been in Stage 3a of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan since November 2021. In Stage 3a, EMWD suspended variances for filling swimming pools and establishing new landscaping, and asked customers for a voluntary 25 percent reduction in water use.

In Stage 1, EMWD customers will be asked to continue with a voluntary reduction in water use of 10 percent.

At no time during the recent historic drought were residential water budgets reduced.

“We want to thank our customers for their proactive commitment to water use efficiency and doing their part to help stretch our state’s water supplies during these unprecedented times,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. “EMWD customers have for more than a generation been leaders in using water efficiently, and we have no doubt they will continue to embrace that lifestyle choice many have adopted years ago.”

After the driest three-year stretch on record resulted in record-low reservoir levels, the winter of 2022-23 brought more than a dozen atmospheric river storms that blanketed the state in rain and snow. The result is a record snowpack and the state lifting emergency drought declarations for most areas.

EMWD was able to avoid imposing cuts to water budgets because it was proactive in investing in a diverse water supply portfolio. Investments in recycled water, local groundwater, and groundwater desalination, were critical toward ensuring water supply reliability during periods of reduced rain and snowfall.

EMWD’s commercial, industrial and institutional customers will still see reduced outdoor water budgets for areas with nonfunctional turf. EMWD is supportive of long-term state efforts to prohibit the irrigation of ornamental turf with drinking water. Nonfunctional turf is grass that provides no active recreational benefit, such as areas in front of shopping centers or in median landscaping.

EMWD is also encouraging customers to continue investing in replacing their grass with climate-appropriate landscaping and water efficient devices, such as weather-based irrigation controllers, through its Landscapes for Living program.

“Our customers have supported the necessary infrastructure investments in local water supply projects, such as our industry-leading recycled water program and the expansion of our groundwater desalination facilities,” Paule said. “EMWD will continue to invest in local water supply projects and support statewide infrastructure investments and policies that will further prepare us all for the extreme weather cycles that we will face.


Eastern Municipal Water District is the water, wastewater service and recycled water 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.” More information can be found at www.emwd.org.

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