CARLSBAD — With little rain this winter and nearby lakes dropping below capacity, the signs of California’s drought are easy enough to observe locally. After two consecutive dry years and a third underway, concerns about mandatory water supplies and cutbacks have swelled.
But for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, the outlook for 2014 isn’t that dire.
“We’re in good shape,” said Wendy Chambers, assistant general manager of the Carlsbad Municipal Water District, before the City Council on March 18.
The district is expected to meet Carlsbad’s water needs this year without mandatory water rationing thanks to conservation efforts and supply diversification.
Water use in the region is down 27 percent since 2007, and the district’s recycled water program makes up 20 percent of it water supply portfolio.
The Carlsbad Municipal Water District has also worked with the SDCWA (San Diego County Water Authority) to vary the region’s water suppliers.
Today, 50 percent of SDCWA’s water comes from the Colorado River, 30 percent comes from the state water project, and 20 percent comes from local supplies and conservation.
“We have higher reliability because we diversified,” Chambers said.
But she cautioned that with no definitive end in sight for the drought, the importance of conservation has never been higher.
“This last rain helped a little bit, but not nearly enough,” she added, referring to the brief rainstorm that sprinkled over San Diego County a few weeks ago. “If this drought continues and it stays dry for several years, these reserves will drop. It’s really unsustainable.”
The Carlsbad Municipal Water District declared a “Drought Response Level 1,” which asks customers to voluntarily reduce water usage, on March 10.
The district will be working with the city to bolster conservation outreach and flood the community with tips on how to save water. Together they are urging citizens to turn on sprinklers only before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. and repair water leaks as soon as possible.