Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA/Agency) General Manager Shivaji Deshmukh issues the following statement on the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California’s declaration of a Water Shortage Emergency and its implementation of an Emergency Water Conservation Program:
“California has been experiencing record-breaking drought conditions over the past three years, and the last three months were recorded as the driest in the State’s history. As announced by MWD during today’s media briefing, MWD does not have enough water to meet normal demands for the six million people living in State Water Project (SWP) dependent areas.
“Although IEUA is identified as State Water Project dependent, the Agency has a diverse water supply portfolio, with approximately 70% of IEUA’s water supplies stemming from local resources that we continue to contribute to and invest in to increase regional drought resiliency. The Agency’s proactive approach includes programs such as the Regional Water Recycling Plant No. 5 Expansion Project and the Chino Basin Program.
“The Agency has been collaborating with its customer agencies and MWD to develop options for conservation measures to stretch SWP supplies as much as possible in addition to implementing its own. In December 2021, IEUA’s Board took action and activated IEUA’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan at Level 2 (up to a 20% shortage), with a focus on reducing the use of SWP supplies in our region.
“MWD’s new Emergency Water Conservation Program includes two pathways. The second pathway is the framework in which IEUA will be following, allowing the Agency to comply with monthly allocation limits based on remaining MWD storage, drought actions, and Human Health and Safety water provided by the Department of Water Resources (DWR). This pathway will result in real water savings for the region. These efforts align with MWD’s goal for all Southern California residents and businesses to save 30 percent and stretch our resources to prevent additional restrictions or cutbacks this year.
“We support this framework which can be measured, quantified, and monitored. The time is now to take action and IEUA appreciates the collaboration between its customer agencies to ensure that the urgency of this situation is conveyed in a unified and impactful manner. We recognize that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not feasible and IEUA will rely on and support the efforts of our customer agencies to implement messaging and water saving initiatives that promote conservation in a way that resonates the most in their region.”