February 6, 2023
Water users in the West Basin service area achieved a historic low for imported water use in 2022. For the first time ever, demand was less than 100,000 acre-feet (AF) of imported drinking water. Customers used approximately 98,750 AF of water for their homes and businesses during 2022, which is a 6% decrease from the region’s drinking water demand in 2020. One acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons of water; and provides enough water for three families for an entire year.
In the past six months, conservation efforts throughout West Basin’s service area have accelerated, getting the region closer to meeting Governor Newsom’s voluntary call for 15% water use reductions from 2020 levels. For West Basin, there is a higher water reduction target of 30%, based on West Basin’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan Level 3 Shortage stage.
The new lower-demand milestone showcases the commitment of West Basin communities to conserve water at a time of major drought in both California and the Colorado River watershed, where Southern California receives a significant portion of its drinking water.
It also demonstrates the effectiveness of West Basin’s water use efficiency programs and water resources policies to date. For example, in November 2022, the West Basin Board of Directors approved an additional investment of $300,000 in the district’s Grass Replacement Rebate Program, which incentivizes residents to replace their lawns with climate-appropriate alternatives.
While achieving this water use milestone is welcome news, drought conditions in California persist, even in light of recent storms. Historic drought also continues to impact the Colorado River watershed, which much of West Basin’s service area is dependent upon. As the uncertainty of drought conditions continue through April, which marks the end of the rainy season, residents should continue to find ways to waste less water and make water conservation a way of life.