Metropolitan Water District Considers Rationing Proposal To Water Agencies

(FOX 11 / CNS) A committee of the Metropolitan Water District, the water wholesaler for Southern California, will consider a proposal today to ration water to its member agencies in the face of the state's continuing drought.

From Hal Eisner:

Beverly Hills' Water Blues

90% of Beverly Hills' water comes from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). Now, a committee of the MWD board has voted to recommend to the full board supporting the Governor's mandatory 25% cut and cut allocations to Beverly Hills and its other member cities and water companies by 15%. That vote will come on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Beverly Hills has taken a huge hit from the state's Water Resources Control Board being nailed with a maximum cut of 35%. By any standard, that's a lot. MWD Board Member Board Member Robert Wunderlich supports tough MWD allocation cuts of 15%, because they "would be saving more water for the future," but admits 35% is tough.

A big help will be turning big lawns in Beverly Hills into drought resistant landscapes by removing grass and switching from broadcast to drip irrigation. But, there's not a lot of time to meet that 35% cut from the state. By, the summer months the State Water Resources Board wants to see reductions in the direction of 35% less water use. So, the city council will soon be looking at a series of new measures when it meets April 21st.

More on those measures in the video report.

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With Gov. Jerry Brown mandating a 25 percent cut in water use across the state, the MWD is considering strict measures that would cut deliveries to its 26 member cities and agencies.

The amount of the cut would be based on each agency's reliance on MWD supplies while also taking into consideration conservation actions already being implemented. Cities and agencies that use more than their MWD allocation would have to pay punitive costs ranging from $1,480 to $2,960 per acre-foot of water. An acre-foot is roughly the amount of water needed to serve two households for a year.

The MWD action would "implement surcharges on member agencies that don't reduce their deliveries in order to achieve a roughly 15 percent reduction in regional deliveries," according to an MWD staff report.

MWD officials said that in addition to limiting the amount of water it supplies to its members, it will also move ahead with efforts including expanded media campaigns to encourage conservation, working with the state for funding of rebate and conservation-incentive programs, and monthly tracking of its members' usage rates to ensure compliance.

Adopting restrictions on water deliveries "is consistent with actions taken by our member agencies and retail agencies and will assist in public outreach efforts to communicate the severity of the current drought and the need for conservation in managing through the drought," according to the MWD report.

The full MWD board is scheduled to discuss the issue Tuesday.

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