ISSUE 2, VOLUME 9, February 2015
Message to Our Readers
"Every drop counts." It's a saying that is often repeated because it is true - now more than ever. We are in a very serious drought and our reservoir levels are dropping with each passing warm, sunny day. In fact, we've already used half of our water reserves (the water we have stored for extended dry periods). With more warm weather on the horizon, now is indeed a time when every drop counts.

 

We thank the many Orange County residents and businesses who have taken steps to reduce their daily water use. Many customers are working hard to identify and repair leaks, upgrade to water efficient appliances, implement onsite commercial/industrial recycling systems, and change out their lawns with California Friendly landscapes. These efforts in conjunction with water agencies' efforts and investments over the last two decades have made a significant impact. Thank you to everyone who has reduced their water use - your efforts are helping us get through the drought. Keep up the good work showing that "every drop counts."

 

Are Water Supply Allocations on the Horizon?

By Harvey De La Torre/Kevin Hostert, MWDOC


As the water roller coaster of the 2014-15 winter continues, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) will have some tough decisions to make. In Southern California, December rainfall was above average. In fact, it was the fifth wettest December on record. Unfortunately, this momentum did not continue into the New Year, as January and February have been hot and dry. In San Francisco, zero inches of rainfall were recorded during the month of January. The temperature on February 12th at John Wayne Airport was a record high of 90 degrees!    
 

At this time, there is no major precipitation forecasted for Southern California. Unless the skies open up with massive storms in March and April, California will enter a fourth year of drought and there will likely be no relief until next winter at the earliest.

 

In order to prepare for this and future dry winters, MWD is planning to restrict water deliveries (or "allocate" a certain amount of water) to its member agencies, including MWDOC. At the April Board meeting, the MWD Board of Directors will make a determination on whether or not a water supply allocation will go into effect in 2015 and what the severity of that allocation could be. If the Board approves an allocation, water restrictions would likely go into effect July 2015 and remain in effect for a 12-month period. Regardless of whether or not allocations occur this year, everyone throughout Southern California needs to continue doing their part to conserve water to help us get through the drought.


Keep Your Eye on the Ball 

By Darcy Burke, MWDOC  

Whether it is baseball, football or basketball season, the first rule of thumb is to keep your eye on the ball; the same is true for water reliability (the probability of an uninterrupted water supply).

There has been significant media coverage of the monthly reports by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announcing who the "winners" and "losers" are in the water conservation race across California. These GPCD (gallons per capita daily) numbers don't tell the whole story. They compare this year's daily water use numbers for any given month with last year's daily water use numbers for the same month. That's like comparing apples to oranges because these numbers don't take into account differences in weather conditions, previous water use efficiency efforts (past investments that have already reduced our daily water use, also known as "demand hardening"), recycled water, and many other factors. Rather than focus on the real story of water reliability investments and long term water use efficiency, the SWRCB has developed a measuring tool that for Southern California and Orange County in particular, means very little.

 

In other words, they are missing the point and they are not keeping their eye on the ball. Water is critical to our health, economic viability and way of life, and it shouldn't be wasted - ever. But building reliable water infrastructure and ensuring a reliable water supply is also critical. So, as numbers are reported each month by the SWRCB, please take into account the whether it was dry and hot or cool and wet; also consider regional investments that have hardened demand. The real story here is we need to invest in our water future at the same rate as the past two generations did.        

 

Be Informed!  

By Kelly Hubbard, WEROC   


One of the guiding principles of Emergency Preparedness is to be informed. Information can be critical to proper planning prior to a disaster and essential for response and safety when a disaster actually occurs.

 

Being informed prior to a disaster (during preparedness planning) is critical to identifying what the risks are to your family and/or agency. This can be done several ways, but one of my favorites is using the website "My Hazards" from the California Office of Emergency Services, http://myhazards.calema.ca.gov/. This website allows an individual to enter an address and search for whether the location entered is at risk for earthquakes, fires, floods or tsunamis. The website also provides additional information, such as: whether earthquakes in your area may also result in landslides or liquefaction; whether there is a high, medium or low threat hazard for the address entered; and what types of actions can be taken to mitigation damages and ensure safety during each type of identified disaster.

 

Full Article >> 

 

"Mesa Water Saver" Conservation Campaign Encourages Residents to Reduce Daily Water Use 

By Stacy Taylor, Mesa Water District  

In 2014, Mesa Water® implemented drought-related outreach ("drought-reach") to communicate with consumers about the drought and the importance of continuing to use water wisely. In December 2014, in order to increase drought awareness in its service area, the District launched a Mesa Water Saver conservation campaign. The campaign aims to reduce residential water use within the service area by 20 gallons or more per person per day by asking residents to look closer at their highest water uses at home.

 

The bilingual (English/Spanish), multimedia, multi-pronged Mesa Water Saver campaign was designed to reach all 108,000 residents (approximately 40,000 households) in the District's community with multiple grassroots touch-points including bill inserts, door-hangers, phone calls, postcards, and representatives visiting homeowners to ask residents to voluntarily do what they can to further reduce their water use by doing three simple things (see article for details).    

 

Working with Fraser Communications, Mesa Water® debuted the tagline "Let's Do Ourselves A Favor. Be A Water Saver." and created memorable campaign graphics and content that were featured in print and radio advertisements, two billboards, and on the MesaWaterSaver.org web page which has received 1,729 visits to the site since the campaign began.


 

Calendar of Events

March 2 @ 8:30 am:
Planning & Operations

March 4 @ 8:30 am:
Workshop Board Meeting  

March 11
@ 8:30 am:

Administration & Finance Committee Meeting
 
March 16 @ 8:30 am:
Public Affairs & Legislation
Committee Meeting


March 18 @ 8:30 am:  
Board Meeting 

March 19 @ 8:30 am:
Executive
Committee Meeting 
 
For information on MWDOC meetings and events, please click on the calendar icon, above.

Results of Previous Poll

eCurrents readers think they're pretty water efficient! Last month, 90% of poll respondents told us they're either extremely or somewhat water efficient. Thanks to everyone who has taken steps to reduce their daily water use, and keep up the good work!

"Do you think Metropolitan Water District will enact water supply allocations this year?" 
Take this quick one-question survey...We'll share the results in our next issue of eCurrents. 

Announcements
MWDOC Hosts Congressional Delegation in Washington D.C.

This month, MWDOC and three other MET member agencies are hosting a Southern California Water Issues Congressional Delegation Briefing while many water districts are in Washington D.C. for the ACWA conference.  The briefing will give us an opportunity to meet with our local members of Congress and their staff to update them on water issues and projects throughout the region.  Check back next month for a full re-cap of the event!



Calling All Student Artists!


The annual Water Awareness Poster & Slogan Contest and Photography & Digital Arts Contest are going on now. Students in grades K-5 are encouraged to submit hand-drawn artwork and original short slogans reflecting the wise use of water. Students in grades 6-12 are invited to create digital artwork and photos using their smart phone, tablet, or computer. The contest deadline is April 3, 2015.

Contest Details >>


Popular Tweets & Posts

"Orange County is serious about saving water. In fact, since the 1990's OC residents have reduced their daily water use by an average of 25% per person. Thank you to everyone who is doing their part to save water!"
"Did you know SoCal's population grew by 5 million since 1985 yet imported demand did not increase?