Water Authority Supports Governor’s State of Emergency Proclamation

Short Title
Water Authority Supports Governor’s State of Emergency Proclamation
Comprehensive actions at state, local levels needed to mitigate impacts of water shortage
February 27, 2009

The chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today applauded Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision to proclaim a state of emergency due to drought conditions and regulatory restrictions impacting the state’s water supply.

“Governor Schwarzenegger’s action clearly reflects the growing severity of water shortages statewide,” said Claude A. “Bud” Lewis. “We support his order for a comprehensive set of measures to address this crisis, including expediting water transfers, pursuing temporary or emergency measures to improve water supply reliability from the Bay-Delta, and urging water users throughout the state to reduce their water use immediately.  These are vital steps to help San Diego County and the rest of California mitigates the impacts of the shortage, but mandatory water use restrictions are still very likely this year.”

A full description of the governor’s state of emergency proclamation is available at http://gov.ca.gov/press-release/11556/.

The governor’s order includes directing the state Department of Water Resources to provide an update on the state’s drought and water supply conditions by March 30.  If emergency conditions have not been sufficiently mitigated by that time, the governor may consider additional steps to manage water supplies, including ordering mandatory reductions in water use.

The Water Authority and its 24 member retail agencies have been preparing for months to address potential water shortages.  The Water Authority has promoted voluntary conservation and augmented supplies by securing short-term “dry year” water transfers from sources in Central and Northern California.  Local retail agencies also have adopted updated drought ordinances that outline specific measures for reducing water demand if mandatory conservation becomes necessary.

Even if Governor Schwarzenegger does not order mandatory reductions in water use, there is still a very strong chance mandatory conservation will be ordered in San Diego County.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Water Authority’s main water supplier, reported earlier this month there is a 75 percent chance it will reduce water allocations to its member agencies this year. MWD, which plans to make that decision in April, may need to significantly cut back deliveries. An allocation from MWD will prompt the Water Authority to allocate supplies to its 24 member retail water agencies.

“To protect our economy and our quality of life, it is the civic duty of every individual to take action now to save water,” Lewis said.

Conservation tips, rebates and other resources are available at the Water Authority’s conservation website, www.20gallonchallenge.com.

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