Agencies step up campaign urging water conservation

RIVERSIDE – Water agencies throughout the Inland Empire are uniting to promote the need for greater conservation as the state contends with its worst drought in decades.

”By collaborating, we are able to reach more people with the message that they are a vital part of the solution,” said Bob Tincher, manager of water resources for the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. ”It is time for the IE to show the rest of the state that we take water conservation seriously.”

Riverside Public Utilities, the city of Corona, the Moreno Valley-based Western Municipal Water District and a dozen other agencies have joined forces for a campaign officials hope will encourage residents and businesses in the region to be more ”water-wise.”

”This drought is not going away any time soon,” said Amanda Kasten, water conservation coordinator for the Rialto-based West Valley Water District. ”By making conservation a way of life, we can secure our water resources now and in the future.”

Later this month, participating agencies will unveil iEfficient, using the Internet and other media to highlight how consumer behavior can affect water tables. The effort will center around a new web-based tool — iEfficient.com.

The site provides a host of options for lowering water consumption, listing basic tips, such as loading a dishwasher fully before using it, and how to access rebates for landscaping that reduces outdoor water waste.

The official unveiling is scheduled during an Inland Empire 66ers game July 22 at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino.

In January, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency in response to pervasive dry conditions and consecutive winters with precipitation and snowpacks well below normal.

The California Department of Water Resources was forced to severely curtail distributions from the State Water Project, a network of reservoirs, streams, aquifers and storage facilities that help meet the supply needs of 25 million Californians.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California received only 5 percent of the allocation it was seeking this year from the project. The MWD is a wholesaler to water agencies throughout the region.

According to officials, water tables are stretched to the limit. Lake Perris’ water level is at half its historic average.

The current drought tops the one in 1990 and has been compared to conditions in 1977, when 47 of the state’s 58 counties declared local drought emergencies.

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