It is hard to believe how many Santa Ana residents are still hosing off their driveways and sidewalks and wasting water by over-watering their lawns. They are going to have to check themselves as the state’s water emergency has reached a new crisis level.
With record dry conditions straining Southern California’s water supplies, the Metropolitan Water District’s (MWD) Board of Directors declared a Drought Emergency on Nov. 9, calling for increased efforts to maximize conservation, especially in communities facing the greatest challenges.
The California Department of Water Resources has indicated its initial SWP allocation next month will be zero. And if drought conditions continue, the state could do something it has never done before – provide only enough water as deemed necessary to protect the health and safety of Californians. Under this never-before-used provision of the SWP contract, the state has indicated it would constrain water deliveries to a level that may prevent any outdoor watering.
In August, Metropolitan’s board declared a Water Supply Alert for the region, calling for consumers and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water use and help preserve the region’s storage reserves. Some of Metropolitan’s member agencies have already gone a step further by implementing new mandatory conservation measures or maintaining past ones.
Under the expanded conservation programs approved today, Metropolitan will provide an additional $5.5 million to install high-efficiency toilets in older apartment buildings; increase its turf replacement program rebate from $2 to $3 a square foot for public agencies that replace grass with more water-efficient landscaping; and provide an additional $1.5 million for its program to directly install water-efficient devices for income-qualified customers. In addition, the board approved a new $2.6 million grant program to help public agencies detect and repair leaks in their distribution systems.