Riverside County Urges Cooperation on Water

Riverside County, Calif., will likely face a 60,000-acre foot shortfall in drinking water by 2015 as a result of anticipated cutbacks in water deliveries from the Sacramento Delta and the Colorado River.

That's enough water for a community of 360,000 or nearly enough water for Riverside and Corona combined.

But while local agencies can temporarily offset those declines by tapping local groundwater basins, increased water conservation and recycling initiatives will be needed to offset the shortfall on an ongoing basis to protect the long-term integrity of local groundwater basins, said Celeste Cantu, general manager of the Santa Ana Regional Watershed Authority (SAWPA).

"Local conservation and recycling efforts must be significant to free up 60,000 acre feet of water on a countywide basis by 2015," Cantu said, adding, "Water agencies and their customers must work together to reach this target if we are to achieve economic stability and maintain our quality of life. We must step up our conservation efforts and maximize our investments in local infrastructure for recycling and for groundwater basin recharge."

Cantu plans to outline several recommendations for water conservation and recycling during a May 1 Riverside County Water Symposium. The annual event, produced and coordinated by Riverside-based TMG Communications, will feature more than 30 speakers from nearly as many state and local water agencies, think tanks, and government bodies who will underscore the urgency of water conservation and recycling efforts.

"We have to act now," Cantu said. "Our quality of life depends on it."

Agencies participating in the symposium include the Riverside County Water Task Force, Metropolitan Water District, the Coachella Valley Water District, Eastern Municipal Water District, Western Municipal Water District, Rancho California Water District, the Santa Ana Regional Watershed Authority, the Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the State Water Resources Control Board, the CALFED Bay Delta Program, Orange County Coastkeeper, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

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