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City Committee Will Hear Details of Worsening Drought, Strategies for Coping With Region’s “Drier Future”

Published on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 | 6:10 am

The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) board will be asked to declare a regional drought emergency on November 9 to address potential water problems amid the drought crisis.

MWD Board Member Cynthia Kurtz will deliver that news to the city council’s Municipal Services Committee Tuesday afternoon. Kurtz also happens to be Pasadena’s incoming interim city manager.

Pasadena obtains about 60% of its water supply from the MWD. The balance of the city’s water comes is local groundwater from the Raymond Basin, according to the Pasadena Water and Power Dept.

In mid-August, the MWD declared a water supply alert and began urging water agencies to start implementing drought contingency plans to address the drought crisis.

According to Kurtz’s report, through the declaration, the board will be able to call on all member agencies to reduce the use of State Water Project supplies.

Kurtz said that while the Metropolitan region is in better condition than other regions in California because of customer conservation efforts, the current drought conditions remain a cause of concern.

“Drought conditions in the Northern Sierras, the sources of the State Water Project, are severe.”

“Lake Oroville is at historic low levels and we anticipate a zero State Water Project allocation at the start of the next year.”

In explaining the move, Kurtz also said in her report that not all parts of the Metropolitan’s service area have access to more than one supply of water.

She also pointed out that the primary State Water Project reservoir in Southern California that serves Northwestern Los Angeles and Ventura County is unable to supply water current as it is undergoing critical repairs.

Kurtz said the MWD is preparing for another critically dry year.

Specifically, the MWD board is looking at increasing the rebates for turf replacement from $2 to $3 per square foot. The board is also looking at introducing new programs to repair leaks and expand installation programs for toilets, showerheads and irrigation controllers.

According to the report, the board is also planning to make investments in drought-related capital improvement projects “to make it possible to move treated Colorado River water to the State Water Project dependent areas to increase reliability” and invest in new supplies to prepare for a drier future.

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