The California Department of Water Resources (CADWR) announced an updated 15% allocation from the State Water Project (SWP) following record precipitation events in late 2021. With a very dry January and recently published temperature and precipitation projections for February by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showing continued dry conditions, the Conejo – Las Virgenes Regional Drought Partnership urges continued water conservation for our region.
The service areas of Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD), Triunfo Water & Sanitation District (TWSD), and Calleguas Municipal Water District (Calleguas) received a much needed reprieve from drought during December as record rain and snowfall hit many parts of the state. The brief precipitation resulted in a modest improvement in water supply availability for the region; however, the need for urgent conservation remains the same.
Unfortunately, January ended up as yet another dry month too often experienced in recent California winters, and many state reservoir levels remain low. Lake Oroville, a key SWP reservoir that supplies much of LVMWD’s, Calleguas’, and TWSD’s demand via the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), sits at 46% of average levels for this time of year. Most of the state’s other major reservoirs also remain well below average levels.
Precipitation levels for the current water year, which began on October 1, are tracking above average. Should that trend continue, water supply conditions could end up more favorable as of April 1st. However, this would require regular rain and snow for the next couple of months, and if January, and now February projections, provide any indication of the remainder of the season, we will continue to have drought conditions well into the remainder of 2022.
“Despite a wet December, water supply conditions are still critical,” stated LVMWD Board President Jay Lewitt. “Even with the increased allocation, we are encouraging our customers to continue to reduce their outdoor water use by 25% to ensure continued water supply availability.”
LVMWD, TWSD, and Calleguas call on all customers to remain consistent with minimizing their water usage. This can be accomplished most efficiently outdoors, where up to 70% of all residential water consumption occurs. Replacing thirsty turf with drought-tolerant landscaping, installing drip irrigation systems, checking for leaks, and replacing old watering timers with smart irrigation controllers can provide significant water and money savings.
LVMWD remains in Stage 3 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and encourages customers to keep up the good work with water efficiency efforts. We must not let a wet December provide a false sense of security. Customers can visit LVMWD.com/DroughtResponse for more information on the District’s Local Drought Emergency, restrictions under Stage 3 of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, and penalties for excessive water use and wasteful practices.
“The high snowpack levels in the Sierras and our recent rains make us cautiously optimistic, but we are definitely not out of the woods,” says Leon Shapiro, TWSD board chair. “The next two or three months will give us a better understanding of the drought picture. In the meantime, we must still remain water-wise and reduce water usage wherever possible.”
TWSD customers can visit our website for water usage guidelines, as well as conservation incentives offered by the District.
“This announcement by the State is encouraging and recognizes that the snowpack is off to a good start after our incredible December storms,” stated Calleguas Board President Steve Blois. “The good news is we have seen significant precipitation in Northern California early this water year, but more is needed. One wet month will not bring us out of this drought.”
Calleguas customers can click here for more information on the resources their agency has to offer, as well as current water use guidelines.
Conservation rebates can be found at www.socalwatersmart.com.