District debuts Internet tool to track regionwide water reserves

Jan. 12, 2009
In concert with the start of the New Year and the need to keep consumers informed about the region's water supply conditions in the midst of a statewide drought, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California unveiled a new Internet tool to track vital Southland water reserve levels...

• Looking to further encourage consumers to reduce water use region-wide, new Web-based graphic shows draw down of vital reserve levels

LOS ANGELES, CA, Jan. 9, 2009 -- In concert with the start of the New Year and the need to keep consumers informed about the region's water supply conditions in the midst of a statewide drought, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California unveiled a new Internet tool to track vital Southland water reserve levels.

Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the new tool's debut on the district's Web site -- mwdh2o.com -- helps illustrate the importance and continued need for increased conservation and regional partnerships to help achieve greater water savings and emphasizes the message that wise water use must be a permanent part of everyday life.

"The possibility of mandatory water cutbacks and rationing is quite real should voluntary water-saving efforts not prove enough," Kightlinger said. "We believe that, given the right information and tools, consumers and businesses will respond by taking additional steps to reduce water use. This new tracking gauge for Southland water reserves is one way to help keep our customers and the general public informed."

The gauge, designed to look like an automotive fuel gauge with measurements from full to empty, tracks current reserve levels in the region's surface water and groundwater storage accounts.

Metropolitan's main sources of imported supplies face significant challenges because of a statewide drought, record dry conditions for eight of the last nine years along the Colorado River, and court-ordered environmental restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

"Metropolitan is on track to draw as much as one-third of the region's remaining critical reserves stored in reservoirs and groundwater basins to meet needs this year," Kightlinger said. "At this rate, we could deplete our stored reserves in two years."

Following Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's declaration of a statewide drought last June, Metropolitan's Board of Directors issued a Water Supply Alert for its six-county service area. The alert urged local agencies to adopt and implement water conservation ordinances and to increase efforts to conserve water.

Metropolitan's new online water gauge is part of a comprehensive effort to inform its customers and the general public and draw attention to the ongoing and permanent need to save water. For more information and tips about saving water, consumers and businesses can go to "bewaterwise.com."

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.

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