Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) encourages water use efficiency and assures Coachella Valley residents that water supplies remain sufficient to meet local demands, despite drought conditions in California.
Since April, Governor Newsom has declared drought emergencies in more than 50 counties and has signed an executive order calling on Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15 percent. Riverside County is not under emergency orders at this time. Additionally, for the first time in history, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) announced a water shortage on the Colorado River resulting in mandatory water consumption cuts as stated in the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP).
CVWD has taken a leadership role in contingency planning with other western states in the case of ongoing severe drought. Some of the top issues addressed in long-term water management planning include water demand projections, 5-year drought risk assessment, seismic risk assessment, water shortage contingency plans and climate change assessments.
The DCP is an action plan generated in 2019 to address ongoing historic drought conditions and reduce risk of Lakes Powell and Mead declining to critical elevations. USBR expects Lake Mead to hit the elevation threshold of the DCP of 1,090 feet in January 2022 triggering Tier 1 cuts that will affect Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.
Deeper reductions (Tier 2 and Tier 3) may be necessary if declines in Lake Mead continue. California does not take cuts in either Tiers 2 or 3 as agreed to in the 2007 Interim DCP Guidelines. However, the 2019 DCP includes additional contributions that California and CVWD have to make when Lake Mead gets to 1,045 feet and below.
“CVWD and other Lower Basin States understand the risks and vulnerabilities we face in the Colorado River system due to the millennium drought and a hotter drier future,” said CVWD General Manager Jim Barrett. “If conditions worsen further, the DCP includes additional provisions to protect critical elevations in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, including the recently announced Drought Response Operations Agreement for releases to Lake Powell.”
Local water efficiency practices are always a priority for CVWD regardless of state or nationwide water levels due to the hot, desert climate.
“Valley residents have done a great job in saving water since previous drought conditions in 2015,” said CVWD Director of Conservation & Communications Katie Evans. “Though the most recent data shows usage has gone up in the past year, which could be a result of the pandemic and drier conditions. The most important thing we can do at this time is be proactive in our efforts to reduce consumption and improve water use efficiency.”
How to increase water-efficiency at home:
o Reduce outdoor water use by eliminating water waste. The most common causes of water waste are over watering and leaks.
o Apply for a conservation rebate.
o Be a role model and convert your yard into a water-efficient landscape.
o Avoid watering during daylight hours, except when overseeding or for maintenance.
o Use CVWD’s watering guide or install a weather-based irrigation controller.
Information can change quickly, visit cvwd.org/drought for updates.