LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With all the storm activity in Southern California over the past few months, the State Water Project announced Monday it would increase water deliveries to agencies throughout the state – but officials said that doesn’t mean the region’s drought is ending.
The State Water Project had earlier announced plans to deliver 15 percent of contracted amounts to water agencies – up from 5 percent last year. But SWP officials said Monday the percentage was being bumped up to 20 percent.
Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, called the announcement welcome news, but said it “does not substantially change the water supply picture for Southern California in 2015.”
“Metropolitan will continue to carefully monitor water supply conditions in Northern California and the Colorado River watershed, the sources of our two imported supplies,” Kightlinger said. “Although Metropolitan continues to maintain water in reserve, we must carefully manage these supplies should the drought stretch beyond this year. Metropolitan has updated its allocation plan should conditions require the district to limit supplies to our 26 member public agencies. Allocation decisions traditionally happen no later than April and go into effect July 1.”
The MWD is cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies in six counties.
State Water Project officials credited storms between December and February for the decision to increase the water allotment. At 20 percent, the allocation is still the second-lowest since 1001, better only than last year’s 5 percent.
The announcement came as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced that its customers have reduced their water use by 22 percent since January 2007, when the city’s water conservation ordinance took effect. DWP officials said, however, that the conservation numbers fell short in comparison to state benchmarks.
Mayor Eric Garcetti repeated his call for residents to slash their water use.
“We are on track for a fourth dry year in this drought with the warmest winter for the last 120 years,” he said. “This has direct and serious impacts to our water supply and the Eastern Sierra snowpack. I’m asking Angelenos to heed our call to reduce their water use by 20 percent by reducing sprinkler use, checking for leaks and removing your grass. Now is the time to do what we can to cut back even more and prevent a severe water shortage when summer comes around.”
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