Memorial Day was the unofficial start of summer. Besides honoring those who gave their lives for their country, it means barbecues and picnics. Warmer weather. Pools and sprinklers. More water usage.
With all the reporting about this being a dry year, with snowpack way down and reservoir levels dropping, one would think summer water rationing is coming. One would be wrong.
I spoke to some water managers. While most want to continue the mantra of water conservation, none are in panic mode. Don’t expect to see any mandatory rationing this summer.
Why? The water agencies have done a good job storing more water. Like squirrels hiding their nuts, they’ve found extra places to stash potable water.
Rick Hansen, general manager of Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Claremont, explains.
“About 15-20 years ago, the Metropolitan Water District had a million acre feet in storage. Now, they have 5 million acre-feet in storage,” he said. One big reason for that was the construction of the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Perris. Another reason is the large water agency has stored more water from the Colorado River in Lake Mead, which is next to Hoover Dam.
“These programs really give us a cushion and a comfort level,” Hansen said.
He should know. His agency, a member of Metropolitan, relies heavily on Northern California and Colorado River water. These areas, such as Rowland Heights, Walnut, Diamond Bar, Claremont, Pomona and parts of West Covina, don’t have hardly any well water. Some of these areas are 100 percent reliant on Metropolitan’s water banking.
Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s column WATER.