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Posted on: September 30, 2021

Drought and California's Water Supply

Hoover Dam with very low water levels

Northern California and the Colorado River are experiencing severe dry conditions due to low snowpack, rainfall and reduced water levels at reservoirs and dams. Currently 50 out of 58 counties in California are part of an emergency drought declaration, however San Diego is not one of those counties. Fortunately, San Diego County has prepared for dry periods and currently has sufficient supplies that continue to meet all of our region's needs. 



In July 2021 in response to drought conditions, Governor Newsom asked all Californians to reduce their water consumption by a voluntary 15 percent. Additionally, the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors voted to move into a Condition 2 - Water Supply Alert in August, which calls upon Southern California residents to voluntarily conserve water. 


The US Bureau of Reclamation issued the first "Level 1" shortage declaration for Lake Mead on the Colorado River on August 16, 2021, in response to low storage levels in the Colorado River system. This historic declaration triggers water cuts for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico beginning in October 2021. 


Padre Dam and the San Diego region are continuously working to further increase water supply reliability, diversity and efficiency. The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is our largest effort towards increasing reliability. This program will provide approximately 30 percent of East County’s water supply by 2025. This Program will enhance the San Diego Region’s water supply reliability and help ensure we can continue to have a sustainable water supply through future droughts.


Although the San Diego region has adequate water supplies, the worsening drought conditions around the State are a reminder to all to avoid wasting water and use all water wisely. Padre Dam customers qualify for water savings rebates and incentives for appliances, irrigation and landscaping. Water Efficient classes are also available to residential customers. Find out more about these programs here. 

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