Drought status and water supply
Drought is back and it's time to step it up
While much of the state and western United States is experiencing prolonged dry conditions and declared drought, Western is prepared to provide reliable, high-quality water supply today, and always. Western, through our regional water partners and customers’ water-saving actions, has worked to save as much water as possible during wet years. As a result, the region began this year with more water in storage facilities than ever before.
But we need your help!
While we have water to meet your needs, we cannot be certain if we are at the end of a short drought or facing the beginning of a long-term drought. Given the increased severity of conditions, It’s up to each and every customer to step up their water-saving efforts so that our stored, imported water will last as long as possible and keep our region ahead of the drought curve.
- What do I need to do?
- Are there mandatory cutbacks?
- Will my bill go up?
- Does Western offer resources to help me save water?
- What is Western doing to prepare?
Continue to Step It Up
Thanks to our customer's water-saving efforts, we have seen residential water usage go down by nearly 40% in the last decade. But as the prolonged dry conditions persist and the Governor calls for increased water savings, we are asking customers to "Step It Up." Believe it or not, more than 60 percent of residential water use is attributed to outdoor watering. Some of the easiest ways Western customers can save water and stay within their outdoor water budget is by adjusting irrigation schedules, installing weather-based irrigation controllers, and moving to a drip irrigation system.
Cut it off
Cut minutes off your irrigation. Keep cutting until your plants tell you to stop, or let a new controller do it for you.
Up to $300 for weather-based irrigation controllers
Take it out
Western is now offering $5 per square foot of turf removed for the first 1,000 square feet.
$5 per square foot
Switch it up
Western offers a $5 per nozzle rebate for high-efficiency sprinkler nozzles.
$5 per nozzle
Experiment with your irrigation
Don't be afraid to experiment. Skip watering for a week and see what happens, then try two weeks, and so on! When you notice signs of distress (wilting or leaf discoloration), give plants a good soak. And remember, when it rains, you can often go days or even weeks without watering.
Explore more water-saving tools
In addition to these practices, customers are encouraged to use our various indoor and outdoor water efficiency rebates, tools, publications, and programs to help them save even more. These can all be found online at wmwd.com/Rebates.
At this time, there are no mandatory cutbacks. In July 2021, Governor Newsom issued an executive order calling for Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15% compared to 2020 usage. In October 2021, Newsom issued a proclamation expanding the state’s drought emergency statewide and urged Californians to step up with water conservation efforts.
No, water rates will not change because of the current drought status. In the event of long-term drought conditions, you may be required to reduce your water usage and see drought fines for using water inefficiently. The best way to manage your water bill is to stay within your personalized water budget. Residential water budgets are calculated based on the number of days in the billing cycles, the number of people in your home, your irrigated landscape area, and local weather data. Learn more about your water budget by visiting, wmwd.com/WaterBudget.
Like the weather, things change so we will keep you informed as drought conditions progress.
Customers have access to a variety of expanded indoor and outdoor water efficiency rebates, tools, publications, and programs to help you save even more. These can all be found on our rebates web page.
To help us through times when we do have water supply shortages, we rely on our Board-adopted Water Shortage Contingency Plan to guide what kinds of actions we need customers to take. As conditions evolve, we will keep this space updated to keep you informed of how you can help and what kind of water-saving steps will be necessary.
Western thinks about your water constantly so you don’t have to. We are continuing to invest in programs and facilities to further expand water supply reliability for customers. These investments are designed to lessen the impact of prolonged droughts such as the one we are currently experiencing. Just five years ago, Western and its Riverside customers were 100 percent dependent upon water imported from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) through the State Water Project and California River Aqueduct. Today, that dependence is down to about 60 percent.
Western also has a Water Supply Shortage Contingency Plan in place to strategically reduce water consumption during drought and water supply emergencies.
Western is committed to supporting the conservation efforts in Northern California, promoting state voluntary guidelines and the One Water approach of The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. This means, Western and its customers will continue to keep up the good work of saving water here in Southern California and stepping up water use efficiency efforts when needed.