Water shortages in Southern California continue to be a major concern, the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said Thursday, a day after the state allocated just 15 percent of what water agencies requested for the next year.
The allocation is the second-lowest for Southern California in the history of the State Water Project, said Lester Snow, director of the state Department of Water Resources.
"The uncertainty of precipitation patterns due to global warming and deteriorating conditions in the delta, California's main water hub, demand immediate action to enhance our ecosystems and keep our economy productive in the 21st century. The governor has sounded the wakeup call and the clock is ticking," he said.
Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said the water agency is preparing for the possibility of water shortages and rationing throughout 2009.
"While this low initial State Water Project allocation was anticipated, it still sends a solemn message up and down California -- we all must immediately reduce water use to stretch available supplies," Kightlinger said.
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"If the region faces a shortage in 2009, the district has in place an allocation formula that seeks to equitably distribute supplies, while preserving emergency reserves. Conservation is an absolute necessity. Using less and being more efficient is the new water reality in Southern California."
Water supplies have been low this year due to a record-dry spring that decreased runoff from the Sierra Nevada mountains and environmental problems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that are restricting the MWD's ability to pump water.