EUA elevates Water Shortage Contingency Plan due to severe and persistent drought | News

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) Board of Directors recently voted to extend the declaration of a Water Shortage Emergency Condition and elevate the agency’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan to a Level 6.

These actions were taken in response to the ongoing, severe drought currently being experienced across California, the Department of Water Resources announcing an initial State Water Project (SWP) allocation of only 5 percent of requested supplies for 2023, and action taken by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to extend the imported water allocation to IEUA and the other SWP-dependent areas.

Although the IEUA service area (which includes Fontana) has experienced much rainfall in recent weeks, the amount of precipitation so far is not nearly enough to end the drought, experts said.

The SWP-dependent areas, including IEUA, rely on MWD and the SWP for imported water supplies. Because of the low SWP allocation, the region will be experiencing additional reductions in the availability of imported water supplies compared to 2022, which was already a challenging year, the IEUA said in a news release on Dec. 28.

With water supplies in Lake Mead and Lake Powell at record lows and the state heading into a fourth consecutive year classified as dry and critically dry, IEUA’s implementation of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan Level 6 is intended to urge all retail agencies within the IEUA service area (including the Fontana Water Company) to reduce imported water usage by a minimum of 50 percent. Additionally, IEUA will continue to support these retail agencies in the implementation of their water use efficiency programs and will work to further educate the community on the importance of conservation and the use of precious local supplies as imported supplies remain scarce, the news release said.

“IEUA has been working closely with MWD and our retail agencies to assess and understand our imported water supply constraints for the next year and how that will impact our region,” said IEUA Board President Steve Elie. “Given the severity of the current drought and future challenges with our water supply in California, it is critically important that we come together to develop local solutions, such as increasing the capacity and ability to develop recycled water. As a leader in water recycling, IEUA is planning and looking forward to the implementation of the Chino Basin Program (CBP), which will develop new, advanced treated recycled water supplies designed to further enhance local water supply reliability.”

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