Updated Drought Conditions
Current Drought Conditions
2022 ended with an atmospheric river that left the Sierra snowpack at 177% of normal for December, followed by six additional atmospheric rivers in the first half of January. Lower elevation reservoirs (Folsom, New Melones, etc.) are filling nicely due to heavy rainfall, and even reservoirs (Shasta, Oroville, etc.) that rely on snowmelt are increasing their storage due to the high-elevation snow levels running off into these reservoirs. Los Vaqueros is unique as it relies on pumped Delta water to refill, rather than watershed runoff, and currently the reservoir remains at 50% of capacity. Water quality hardness has been too high to pump regularly.
Shasta has had snow runoff; however, the State will more than likely not lift drought restrictions until the last official snow survey on April 1st. The State cannot anticipate how the water will flow after 3 years of drought and have extended water conservation requirements to be in effect until December 2023. Rainy days may bring some comfort, but conservation continues to be our best offense for the climate swings of California. Remaining resilient and mindful in your water usage is key and helps us stay focused on our water future.
Click here for current reservoir conditions.
On June 1, 2022, the Board of Directors of Diablo Water District declared a Stage 1 Water Shortage, which would implement all actions and activities listed in the District’s Urban Water Shortage Contingency Plan Shortage Level 1. Although the District and its rate payers have made significant investments in local water supply and storage projects that have resulted in sufficient water supply for year three of the state’s historic drought, the State Water Resources Control Board’s adopted emergency regulations dated May 24, 2022, that implemented requested actions from the Governor’s March 28, 2022 Executive Order N-7-22. The District must comply with these orders by also implementing all actions and activities listed in the District’s Urban Water Shortage Contingency Plan Shortage Level 2. This includes the prohibition of irrigating non-residential non-functioning turf. We remain a resource to our customers during these times and will continue to work together to save water. Simple changes can make a significant impact. Our biggest water savings are found outdoors. We know our customers can tackle the challenge with some simple changes to their outdoor water use.
Like most Diablo Water District customers, you recognize that conservation is a way of life in California. We greatly appreciate everything you are doing to reduce water use. However, as the drought continues and we face the warmer months of our third dry year, now is the time to reexamine how we can work together to save even more water during these unprecedented times.
Gov. Newsom’s approach to limiting summertime water use requires all Californians to do their part to use water wisely while also giving local water managers discretion based on local supply conditions. Diablo Water District is currently awaiting direction from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) that meets later this week. The SWRCB decision will help guide the District’s response to the drought and help determine which stage of our water shortage plan the District should consider.
Until the District adopts an official water shortage stage, everyone should start evaluating what they’re already doing to reduce water use and find new ways to save. There are many water saving tips on sites such as www.saveourwater.com. You can also find information on how to save more water at https://diablowater.org/your-water/conservation. Additionally, you can find information on rebates for a variety of indoor and outdoor products for your home at https://diablowater.org/your-water/conservation/rebates.
As we are nearing the end of the typical raining season, and long range precipitation models show normal to below normal rainfall for the month of March, the District is currently evaluating our expected water demands and water supply for the 2022 calendar year. The District is committed to sustainable water practices, which includes planning for all types of weather years, from floods to droughts, and evaluating and planning for how to respond to all types of water supply scenarios. An official announcement and outlook for the remainder of the year will be determined in March or April.
We will continue to be your source for updates and conservation assistance as we endure this drought together. Please continue to remain diligent in your water efficiency and eliminate water waste.
As we head into a new water year, concerns of a third dry year continue to drive the message of doubling-down on current conservation efforts. Governor Gavin Newsom extended his emergency drought orders to the remaining eight counties in California on October 19, 2021. Governor Newsom’s proclamation included expanding efforts to meet the voluntary 15% reduction goal as well as extending permission to the State Water Resource Control Board to enforce emergency regulations to curb water-waste.
The State Water Resource Control Board met on October 19, 2021 and shared that the focus is on short-term precipitation right now and that they are encouraged by the predicted rainfall expected over the next 14 days. August 2021 proved to be the driest on record; however, August saw twice as much conservation as compared to July – a sign that conservation is trending in the right direction. The message remains clear – as Californians, we need to anticipate another dry year as we battle climate change and continue our conservation efforts.
Click here to check out the new dashboard tools for local water use.
We recognize that many of our customers have previously implemented conservation efforts and continue to do so on a daily basis. To those customers, we are thankful and ask that you continue to be efficient. For customers using in excess of 14,000 gallons per month in the summer—roughly 19 units—Diablo Water District encourages you to find ways to maximize water-efficiency in your home and landscape and reduce water waste. For ways to conserve, please click here. You can also follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/diablowaterdistrict for more conservation ideas. Together, we will get through this drought.
The governor has moved forward and declared additional watersheds to be in a State of Emergency due to the State's drought. Contra Costa County, in addition to many other counties, are now included.
At this time, there are no mandatory actions directed towards local water agencies or our customers. As with most State of Emergency Declarations, they are used to remove roadblocks and expedite the flow of funding and projects to address the emergency.
We are able to meet our customer's water demands this year; however, we do not know how long this drought is going to last. We are asking customers to be efficient and eliminate any wasteful practices. Should the drought persist, water that is saved this year will help all of us next year.
You can read the full proclamation here.
State Mandated Permanent Conservation
In 2018, the State Legislature passed permanent conservation standards. Learn how they may impact your water use.