Newsletter

West Basin Water News – Summer 2021

 

Serving You During Drought and Fire Season

As we move into the hottest days of summer, California is once again in the grips of a severe statewide drought that seems to worsen with each passing day. High temperatures and below average snowpack have combined to produce record low levels of runoff that threaten Southern California’s primary imported water sources, the Colorado River and the State Water Project.

As of this writing, the Governor has not declared a drought emergency for Los Angeles County. However, the Governor’s July 8th call for a voluntary 15% reduction of urban water use will help Californians on the whole.

While current climate conditions present a variety of challenges, there is still good news to be told. For the last 30 years, West Basin and other local water suppliers have made significant investments in conservation, recycled water, groundwater augmentation, and storage programs to prepare our communities to withstand multi-year droughts. In July, the West Basin Board of Directors approved a Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) that describes the actions West Basin would take to ensure reliable water supplies during various water shortage situations.

Nonetheless, maintaining water efficient lifestyles during drought and non-drought periods is a must to ensure that our local communities and businesses continue to have secure access to high-quality water supplies. West Basin offers a variety of rebates and educational programs meant to help the community save water and money.

In addition, fire season is upon us. The historically dry conditions not only impact our imported water supplies, but also increase the risk of catastrophic wildfires in some of our communities. While this news should come as little surprise to a region that has experienced increasingly frequent dry spells and fires, it does serve as an important reminder that we should never take for granted our precious water resources or the safety of our homes against wildfire.

In September, West Basin will host a free fire-resistant landscaping workshop in partnership with the City of Malibu and the LA County Waterworks District. The online event is free to any resident in the West Basin service area and will provide important steps to help protect your property against wildfire.

On behalf of West Basin, thank you for saving water during this season and drought. From all of us, we wish you a safe and fun-filled summer.

Sincerely,

The West Basin Municipal Water District Board of Directors


Water Use Efficiency Rebates & Resources Available Now

For those of us who are volunteering to reduce our water use, West Basin continues to offer valuable resources to help make a positive impact.

The District encourages its service area residents and businesses to practice water use efficiency this summer – and beyond – by finding and fixing leaks, removing grass and installing California-friendly landscaping. A variety of educational and incentive programs assist and reward West Basin service area communities in making long-term water efficiency changes.

Current programs and offerings include:

  • Grass Replacement Rebate Program ($3 per square foot for West Basin service area)
  • California Friendly and Native Landscaping Training Classes
  • Turf Removal and Garden Transformation Workshops
  • Garden Design Workshops
  • Change & Save Rebate Program (free water-saving device kits and up to $500 for high-efficiency clothes washers for qualifying applicants)
  • Know Your H2O Webinars:
    • Water Supply Diversity
    • Water Recycling Facility Tour

For more information on the aforementioned resources, please visit:


New Urban Water Management Plan and Water Shortage Contingency Plan Adopted

The West Basin Board of Directors adopted the 2020 Urban Water Management Plan (UWMP), a long-term strategic water resources plan that demonstrates West Basin’s ability to provide reliable water supplies to the region through 2045.

West Basin is required to update its UWMP every five years. The 2020 plan, effective July 1, 2021, summarizes projected water supplies and demands for the next quarter century and confirms that West Basin is well prepared to meet anticipated service area water needs in normal-year, single-dry year, and five-year drought scenarios.

The West Basin water supply portfolio continues to be reliable due to ongoing investments in local water sources, including the continued expansion of the district’s water recycling system, which supplies the region with five types of recycled water for irrigation, industrial uses, and groundwater replenishment. According to the 2020 UWMP, recycled water use is projected to more than double in West Basin’s service area by 2045.

West Basin will further solidify its reliability through ongoing implementation of demand management measures, which includes water use efficiency programs, public outreach, and education. These measures work together to reduce demand for drinking water, despite expected growth in housing units and population over the next five to ten years.

West Basin’s retail water suppliers are also expected to increase groundwater pumping in the region over the next ten years, which will alleviate the need for purchasing additional imported water in future years.

In addition to adopting the 2020 UWMP, the West Basin Board approved a Water Shortage Contingency Plan (WSCP) that describes the actions West Basin would take to ensure reliable water supplies during various water shortage situations, including shortages of greater than 50 percent. The WSCP provides West Basin with a flexible set of response actions to address future water shortages, including enhanced outreach and education, increased coordination with local water agencies, and implementation of new water efficiency programs.


Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Budget Supports Conservation Programs and Recycled Water Projects

After a series of publicly-held budget workshops, the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 Operating Budget was officially adopted during the May 24, 2021 West Basin Board meeting. The newly adopted budget is currently in effect, as of July 1, 2021 and will run through June 30, 2022.

Each year, the District prepares a budget based on priorities, goals, and objectives set by the Board of Directors. When preparing the budget, staff considers many factors including water sales assumptions, rates and charges, salaries, debt service, program expenses, and capital expenditures.

All budget considerations are in support of the District’s mission of delivering high quality, safe and reliable water to the communities it serves, as well as its commitment to sound financial and resource management. A few highlights from this fiscal year’s budget include:

  • $175,000 of funding to supplement a $2 per square foot grass replacement rebate offered by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California with an additional $1 per square foot rebate from West Basin (for a total rebate of $3 per square foot).
  • $35,000 of renewed funding allocated to the Water Bottle Filling Station Grant Program, providing additional opportunities for public facilities to increase community access to safe and reliable tap water via indoor or outdoor water stations.
  • Funds to advance the Juanita Millender-McDonald Carson Regional Water Recycling Plant Phase II Expansion Project with construction plans valued at over $20 million to deliver recycled water for industrial use.

Additional budget highlights, including descriptions of the various programs, their associated costs, and financial forecasts are available on the District’s Financial Reports page at:


Recycled Water Master Plan Expected

Due to decades of investment in local water reliability projects, especially recycled water, West Basin and its retail agencies continue to be well prepared to manage our current drought and the multi-year droughts that have become the norm.

The West Basin Recycled Water Master Plan (Master Plan) is an important strategic document that guides the District in how to move forward with maximizing recycled water use inside and outside its service area over the next 20 years.

Every drop of water recycled is a drop of water saved for drinking water for our residents. To date, West Basin has produced nearly 250 billion gallons of recycled water for irrigation, industrial and other uses.

The Master Plan, which is in the final stages of development, will become available in the coming weeks. The last Recycled Water Master Plan was completed in 2009.

The updated Master Plan is comprised of nine chapters and identify multiple key goals and objectives. These goals include, but are not limited to: collaboration, regulatory foresight, tool development, system optimization and reliability, maximized recycled water production, and a roadmap for the future.

The technical findings contribute to a plan that outlines a phased approach to expanding capacity with multiple scenarios in play. The Master Plan highlights three themes and four phases (each in five-year segments) over the next 20 years. Thematic areas of opportunity include: Expansion to more irrigation customers and groundwater augmentation; Expansion of the irrigation system and more refineries; and Deliveries to LA Harbor and Long Beach industrial customers.

Introductory details of the Master Plan, presented to the Board in Spring 2021, are reflected in an Executive Summary which will be available online along with the full plan.

West Basin is committed to providing reliable, drought-resilient water supplies to the service area by focusing on efforts to expand recycled water resources, which are more resilient to ongoing climate change and other factors that can make imported water a less reliable supply.

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