Even With Rains, EMWD Encourages Efficiency During Ongoing Drought
Perris, CA (March 13, 2023) — With California seeing record snowfall and precipitation this winter, Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) wants to remind customers that using water wisely needs to be a way of life, regardless of weather patterns.
California is still in a years-long drought that has impacted both surface and groundwater supplies. The plentiful winter storms are a boon to the state’s reservoirs and snowpack, but drought conditions are still impacting many of our water supply sources.
The Colorado River system – where EMWD receives some of its imported water from – is still facing historic drought conditions that will likely result in reduced allocations for all seven states that rely on the river. Because many of California’s winter storms have not sustained rain and snowfall as they move into the Colorado River basin, the Colorado River system has not seen the benefits of many of these storms and is still approaching the potential of no longer being able to move water from its reservoirs.
California’s groundwater supplies have also been hit hard during the recent drought because of the lack of surface water available from the State Water Project system – the other source of EMWD’s imported water supplies. Groundwater supplies often take years to replenish, even after heavy rainfalls.
“While the state is in a much better position than it was a few months ago, we were working in a deficit for many years, and one good winter will not undo all of those challenges,” EMWD Board President Phil Paule said. “It will take several years to replenish our aquifers and to chart a new course for how we allocate water from the Colorado River for the future.
“We are all celebrating the record rain and snow, and are happy that our reservoirs are refilling, but we must continue to use water efficiently and make the right local and statewide water supply investments to prepare for a better water supply future.”
EMWD encourages customers to take part in its Landscapes for Living program, which offers resources, devices and rebates to make their landscapes more efficient. More than 60 percent of water used in the region is for outdoor irrigation, which also offers the biggest opportunities for savings.
EMWD remains in Stage 3a of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which eliminates variances for filling of swimming pools and establishing new landscapes. Because of its proactive investments in local water supplies, EMWD has not made any cuts to customer water budgets in the current drought.
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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.