Inland agency to weigh options amid worries over water supplies

PERRIS – How to cope with state cuts to local water supplies amid the worst drought in California in more than three decades will be a leading topic on the Eastern Municipal Water District Board of Governors’ meeting Wednesday.

”With an unprecedented situation such as this, it is important that our board has a full understanding of the unique and challenging situation facing our region and our state,” board President Phil Paule said.

”We want to ensure that we have the information to make educated decisions about our drought-related efforts as we move forward to navigate these difficult times as they relate to our water supplies.”

EMWD staff are planning a ”Drought Workshop” as part of the board’s regular agenda. The meeting begins 9 a.m. Wednesday at the agency’s headquarters, 2270 Trumble Road, Perris.

According to EMWD officials, the agency has prepared for rainless days by making ”storage and reliability investments” over the past 20 years. Thus, even though the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, from which the EMWD buys supplies, is facing a squeeze due to state actions, water rationing is not in the immediate future of EMWD customers.

However, the agency strongly encouraged more conservation.

The district serves about 758,000 people over a 542-square-mile area, from Moreno Valley south along Interstate 215 to Temecula, and east to the San Jacinto Valley.

Last week, the California Department of Water Resources announced that 29 municipal agencies that receive annual allocations from the State Water Project would get zero this year if the drought persists.

In addition to the MWD, a major wholesaler of water to Inland Empire utilities, the following agencies in Riverside and San Bernardino counties will be directly impacted by the state cutbacks:

— Coachella Valley Water District;

— Crestline-Lake Arrowhead Water Agency;

— San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District; and

— San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency.

According to state officials, reservoirs, lakes and other storage facilities from which water is distributed to an estimated 25 million Californians are at levels not seen since the drought of 1977.

”Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the (State Water) Project,” DWR Director Mark Cowin said Friday.

He said local agencies will have to lean more on local wells, aquifers and lakes to meet demand.

Cowin made the zero allocation declaration under the auspices of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Jan. 17 drought emergency proclamation.

According to state officials, the statewide snowpack is only 12 percent of its historic average for this time of year.

”While additional winter storms may provide a limited boost to reservoir storage and water deliveries, it would need to rain and snow heavily, every day, from now until May to get us back to average annual rain and snowfall,” according to a DWR statement. ”Even then, California would still be in a drought.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 284 counties in 11 states in a drought crisis as of Jan. 29. All of California — except for Imperial County — is listed as being in a condition of either ”severe” or ”extreme” drought.

17 Responses to "Inland agency to weigh options amid worries over water supplies"

  1. Frosty   February 4, 2014 at 1:10 am

    You’re in for a bumpy ride SoCal! Better hang-on to your canteen. So happy I left, I thank God everyday for the wonderful life we have now that we left Ca. The cleanest and most abundant fresh water in the entire nation at my back door! AHHH, I love my $20/month water bill!

  2. Lee   February 4, 2014 at 8:22 am

    We have known for decades, not only years, that SoCal, and California in general, lacks water. So why on earth would we continue to stuff more and more folks here by building developments such as the upcoming one on the corner of the I-15 & 76? Why? We know we don’t have enough water yet we continue to build housing for MORE folks to move here. Why? Well, the answer is very simple: for our military-industrial complex for who SoCal is Club Med. So, we ignorantly stuff more and more people here without any thought to the environment.

    Wouldn’t it make far more sense to keep the military where natural resources are abundant? Certainly makes sense to me.

  3. DR DR   February 4, 2014 at 10:19 am

    We haven’t had many homes built since ’05. In 10 years, kids are now adults and don’t want to live with their parents, but take their wife and kids to their own home-family growth. People like to upgrade to a newer home. PEOPLE LOVE So Cal due to the beautiful weather.

    Ocean water is our only hope-but we have been so slow to research/build but certainly have spent billions on alternate energy resources.

    PS: Military can’t afford new homes on the 15/76, Lee.

  4. grunt   February 4, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Lee- how in the world do you fault the MILITARY for new housing???? Have you not read – the military is cutting down. You have proven to me at least, that you have no idea at all of any topic – just blame the militray.

  5. WTF   February 4, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Lee certainly never allows common sense or facts to stand in the way of a silly comment.

  6. Fallbrook res.   February 4, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Bringing up water. Ever since our water merged with Rainbow it tastes bad the baby wont even drink it and its such hard water. We are so sad.
    **As a Retired Marine family. The 23 years we served were just so we could bother Lee! All our kids still serve to give Lee the freedom to live out his life short of water and high on new housing. Proud Fallbrook home owner USA, we earned it did you?

  7. Reality Checker   February 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Haven’t you guys figured it out yet? Lee just thinks of the dumbest idea he can, then throws it out there to see who bites. Its only to stimulate his sick sense of entertainment value. If no one responded to his posts eventually he would be quiet and leave. And, he doesn’t have to put much effort into thinking of dumb ideas, it comes quite naturally to him.

  8. observer   February 5, 2014 at 6:10 am

    At least Rivco has worked at offsetting its need from the state supply by building Diamond Valley lake and other projects. San Diego county relies heavily on state water, they will be the most impacted by this situation. There is alot of ground water, yet they don’t have the means to tap it when needed, so it could be pouring rain in san diego and they still are in a drought situation if the snowpack is low. Crazy but that is how it is set up down there. IE is more practical and has worked to reduce its dependency on the state water supply over the years, which is SMART.

  9. Lee Chew   February 5, 2014 at 6:28 am

    I suggest building very large desalination plants near the ocean, 1 in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles etc. This would also offset the rise of the oceans from all the global warming fears. Also, I’m not comment 2

  10. MissE   February 5, 2014 at 7:03 am

    If we don’t get rain the farmers in California will have their water restricted and your produce will all be coming from Mexico where they use pesticide that are not allowed to be used in the USA. Not good!

  11. The Dude   February 5, 2014 at 7:32 am

    By all means, let’s make sure the Temecula vinters all get theirs.

  12. Avo Farmer   February 5, 2014 at 7:49 am

    The solution is simple. Somebody needs to kill all the delta smelt. Once they are declared extinct, pumping can be restarted and all that fresh water that is now going out to the ocean can be used again.

    I know what you’re thinking. The EPA will spend 30 years looking for a single smelt before they will declare them extinct and won’t allow any water to be pumped anyway. You’re right of course. Half the population will die of thirst first.

  13. Preston   February 5, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Sadly, The the people in this Country have not come to the realization that we are all in this together and in time will need what the other has.
    What was once a nation of doers has become a nation of selfish apathetic _________.
    With logical thinking and unity we could accomplish anything and already have everything we need within our own borders.

  14. NIMBY   February 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Gotta love the 800 lb gorilla in the room during this drought alert…
    All of the emerald green lawns throughout So Cal, with automatic sprinklers and overspray water running down the gutters. What’s even worse are the endless golf courses with their thick blankets of green grass for the "beautiful people" to enjoy.

    Save the smelt, and close some golf courses.

    Desalination is the only long term solution to our water insecurity.

  15. John   February 6, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks to frosty now we all know where to go if times get tough. And whoever developed this land and decided to put grass everywhere is an idiot. The water company should offer reward for water wise landscaping. The only reason I keep my grass is because my bill was higher w/o grass because they budget you less water. So I have grass, use/waste more water and my bill is cheaper. Whatever. Politics

  16. rose   February 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    People don’t seem to make good decisions for the environment therefore it is time that the state implement strict policies. Take landscaping-should all be drought tolerant, limited watering and no lawn! Irrigation should be mostly for growing food-
    How about gray water systems-lets get going with implementing such systems into homes/businesses-

  17. Lee   February 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    @ # 16 Rose



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