In the wake of a well-below-normal statewide snow survey this week, the chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today urged residents and businesses around the region to be prepared for potential water shortages this year and to increase water conservation efforts immediately.
"Everyone should be concerned that California is headed for a third straight dry year," said Claude A. "Bud" Lewis. "Two years of dry weather and regulatory restrictions on importing water from the Bay-Delta already have depleted much of the state's water reserves. Another dry year will make water shortages much more likely. We must make every effort to eliminate water waste and improve our water efficiency now."
On Thursday the state Department of Water Resources announced its second snow survey of the winter season. It showed snow water content was only 61 percent of normal for this time of year statewide. Last January, snow water content was 111 percent of normal before the driest spring on record plunged the state into its second consecutive dry year.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Water Authority's main water supplier, earlier this month projected there was a 50-50 chance it would have to allocate, or cut back, deliveries in 2009. Those chances are likely to increase as a result of below-normal precipitation this winter. MWD, which is planning to decide in April whether or not to allocate, may need to significantly cut back deliveries this year.
An allocation from MWD will prompt the Water Authority to allocate supplies to its 24 local member agencies.
"We are working closely with our member agencies to prepare for worsening water supply conditions," Lewis said, adding that local agencies have adopted ordinances with water use restrictions that correspond to escalating stages of water supply shortages.
Water conservation tips, rebate information and other water-saving resources are available at www.20gallonchallenge.com