The calendar year that just ended was so dry the lack of rainfall set new records in the cities of Riverside and Los Angeles, and other parts of Southern California.
But 2013 was not the driest year on record for Palm Springs, according to the National Weather Service. The San Gorgonio Pass area received significant rains during the late monsoon season at the end of August, and local waterfalls did not stop flowing.
"The Coachella Valley desert is in a perpetual state of drought so the water purveyors, businesses and residents are always looking for ways to reduce water use," CVWD General Manager Jim Barrett said in Friday's announcement. "The Coachella Valley is best served by a long-term water management approach that includes action during both wet and dry years, not through reactionary measures during statewide drought years."
Here's the full Coachella Valley Water District statement released Jan. 17:
In response to Gov. Jerry Brown's State of Emergency declaration due to the statewide drought, Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) reminds residents of the many ways they can reduce water use.
CVWD offers many resources to help residents and business owners conserve water in their homes and outdoor landscapes, including rebate programs, workshops and educational material. CVWD officials do not anticipate the need to impose water restrictions or rationing, which will be implemented elsewhere.
While some areas of the state rely solely on rain-filled lakes and streams for domestic water needs, the Coachella Valley is fortunate to have a diverse portfolio of water sources, including a vast aquifer, to help it endure dry years. However, the aquifer isn't an endless supply that can be irresponsibly wasted.
The Coachella Valley Water Management Plan (available for review at www.cvwd.org) outlines a long-term, multi-pronged strategy for eliminating overdraft of the aquifer. Among the ongoing strategies identified in the plan are:
- Increased use of recycled and imported water for irrigation of golf courses. Golf courses have increased their use of recycled and imported water by more than 30% in the last 10 years and plans are underway to provide this nonpotable supply to more golf courses in the coming years.
- Providing education, incentives and rebates to help domestic customers reduce water use. Through these strategies, CVWD domestic customers have reduced overall water use by more than 20% in the last eight years, despite increased growth.
- Increased use of imported State Water Project water for groundwater replenishment.
- Increased use of imported water for irrigation of farmland. Plans are underway to extend the Coachella Canal delivery system to provide Colorado River water to farmers currently using groundwater.
"I want to assure you that Coachella Valley Water District has been and continues to make significant strides in combating overdraft of the aquifer and ensuring a reliable domestic water supply for generations to come," Barrett said.
The most significant local impact of the statewide drought is that it threatens the amount of SWP water available to the Coachella Valley for groundwater replenishment. Current projections are that we will receive only 5% of our allotment.
The average annual amount of water naturally replenished by rain or snow melt in the Coachella Valley is 62,000 acre-feet. In 2012, the total amount of groundwater used within the Coachella Valley was approximately 317,000 acre-feet. Replenishment from imported water of almost 314,000 acre-feet helped minimize overdraft that year.
Residents wanting to do their part to help reduce water use and protect the aquifer have several programs and resources available to assist them. Visit www.cvwd.org for more information.
CVWD programs to help residents and businesses reduce water use include:
"As a responsible steward of the valley's groundwater resources, the district works to promote conservation by all water users," Barrett said. "Tiered rates, landscape conversion programs and public education have all helped to reduce demand on the aquifer, but there is always more that can be done."
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, primarily in Riverside County, and in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.