PALMDALE — As a historic drought grips California and the rest of the Western United States, the Palmdale Water District Board of Directors on Tuesday will consider implementing Stage Two of its Water Shortage Contingency Plan, continuing voluntary water use reductions for customers while leaving open the possibility of mandated reductions.
The Board meeting begins at 6 p.m. Members of the public may participate via teleconference by dialing 571-748-4021, attendee PIN 660-786-940#.
The declaration won’t have much immediate effect on customers, who have already been asked to reduce their water use, District spokeswoman Judy Shay said.
The District in June adopted an updated Water Shortage Contingency Plan, in which the requested 15% reduction falls under Stage Two instead of Stage One as it was in the previous plan.
The Board had already enacted Stage One of the previous plan in April.
The Board may chose to make the reduction voluntary or mandated, and may switch between the two requirements, according the staff report.
District staff is recommending the reduction remain voluntary at this time, while the District continues educational and other outreach to encourage customers to conserve water.
The Board may also decide to implement a drought surcharge or drought factor in billing under the Stage Two declaration.
The District’s water plan shows it has the capacity to withstand one year of drought without depleting supplies, but the problem becomes more acute if drought continues for consecutive years.
A 15% reduction in water use this year will help ensure supplies for next year, officials said.
State Water Project deliveries this year are down to only 5% of their allotment. This water, delivered through the California Aqueduct, is one of three sources of water for the District. A second source, water collected in the reservoir behind Littlerock Dam from runoff in the San Gabriel Mountains, is also severely depleted.
The District has the capacity for pumping enough groundwater to meet supply needs this year, but that amount will decrease next year, under the terms of the court judgment that dictates groundwater rights in the Valley.