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June 2013
Subscribe to Your Water – Metropolitan’s E–Newsletter.

Metropolitan Prepared to Meet Record Dry Conditions

Colorado River Aqueduct

This spring’s wildfires in Southern California are a prelude to an expected long, hot summer and high water demands. The blazes come on the heels of record dry conditions in the Sierra Nevada, where January through May was the driest such period since recordkeeping began in the 1920s.

Despite those conditions, the Metropolitan Water District is prepared to meet the region’s water supply needs in 2013 because of its record storage reserves which were built to meet the demands and challenges of a dry year.

These reserves will be used to make water deliveries to Metropolitan’s 26 member agencies. Even with strong reserves, it is important that Southern California continue water conservation and water-use efficiency practices. Wise water use is essential year-round, in dry and wet years, to ensure adequate and reliable water supplies for today and in the future.

Since 2009, Metropolitan has doubled the amount of water stored in reservoirs like Diamond Valley Lake in southwest Riverside County, local groundwater basins and in banking programs in Lake Mead and the San Joaquin Valley. Today, the district has 13 times more water in storage than it did in 1980.

The reserves are essential this year given that the state Department of Water Resources’ final snowpack survey, released last month, for the Northern Sierra measured the water content in the watershed at only 17 percent of average. The weak snowpack results set a new record for the driest five-month period in 90 years.

Pumping restrictions to protect Delta smelt and salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have exacerbated the poor supply conditions. The receding snowpack and pumping cutbacks compelled the Department of Water Resources in late March to reduce from 40 percent to 35 percent the amount of water the State Water Project will deliver this year to water agencies throughout California, including Metropolitan. The SWP typically delivers about a third of Southern California’s annual supplies.

The Colorado River system remains in a drought that has spanned 12 years. Despite these conditions, Metropolitan’s water reserves - double what they were in 2009 - will help ensure the region has a reliable water supply.

 


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