Water Supply Conditions: Into the “Yellow”
Aug. 21, 2014
By General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger
As the drought continues, a basic in water planning is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. So we hope for rain and snow this winter and El Niño conditions, while we prepare for the drought to continue. Metropolitan has rarely reduced the availability of water supplies to our 26 member agencies in our 86-year-history, but planning for that possibility next year is a necessary next step.
When Metropolitan restricts supplies, it does so through our Allocation Plan. That plan was last implemented in 2009. But since then there have been shifts in local water supply conditions and use patterns and other changes. So it is time to fine-tune the plan so that it is both fair and effective from a local and regional perspective.
Meetings with our member agencies on how to update the Allocation Plan have been underway for weeks, with more scheduled. Metropolitan’s Board of Directors could formalize any revisions to the plan before the end of the year.
Metropolitan entered this three-year drought cycle with the largest amount of water held in reserve in its history. The region has been relying on these reserves. And our reserves are sufficient for more dry years if carefully managed. That said, a sense of caution and prudence is appropriate for each and every one of us.
One way Metropolitan seeks to convey water supply conditions in a simple, straightforward way is through a “water gauge” at the top of our websites, bewaterwise.com and mwdh2o.com. The gauge measures the status of our water reserves and while it has been declining, it has remained in the “blue zone,” indicating strong, healthy reserves. But as we head through the year, we expect to move into the “yellow zone.”
Yellow reflects that a curtailment in available supplies from Metropolitan is on the horizon. The yellow zone indicates that we need to carefully monitor and manage our remaining reserves in case the drought continues. It reinforces the calls to increase conservation and lower outdoor water use, both of which are vital. Every gallon saved through conservation is a gallon that remains in our storage system. There is a role for all of us to ensure a reliable water future.
June 18, 2014 - On Several Fronts, Promising Signs of Water Progress
May 22, 2014 - Conservation: Lowering Use is Key in Warm Weather
Mar. 13, 2014 - Ops: Surviving the 1977 Drought
Feb. 24, 2014 - Surviving a Zero Allocation – Leave it to the “Ops” team
Jan. 16, 2014 - What MET's Looking for
Dec. 17, 2013 - Water Progress in Northern California
Nov. 1, 2013 - A State Water Action Plan That Fits the Times
Oct. 23, 2013 - It’s dry out there, so watch your water use