2022 Articles


In response to to the unprecedented, climate change-driven drought that has stretched over two decades in the Colorado River Basin, in October California outlined voluntary actions it plans to take to help stabilize storage in the Basin’s major reservoirs.

California water agencies that use Colorado River water supplies proposed to conserve up to an additional 400,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead each year, from 2023 through 2026. This water, which would otherwise be used by California’s communities and farms, will meaningfully contribute to stabilizing the Colorado River reservoir system.

In its letter to Commissioner Touton, the state identified a collection of proposed water conservation and water-use reduction opportunities to fulfill this plan. California’s Colorado River water agencies also are prepared to create and store additional quantities of Intentionally Created Surplus water supplies in Lake Mead pursuant to the 2007 Interim Shortage Guidelines, under future favorable hydrologic and water supply conditions. These actions are in addition to California’s commitments under the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan, in which the state will have to reduce its use by up to an additional 350,000 acre-feet if Lake Mead continues falling.

At Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), the board approved the Colorado River Water Conservation Program, a voluntary and temporary program that would compensate customers who conserve water for the benefit of the river system. The program focuses on fallowing or transitioning to lower water use crops.

CVWD also enhanced domestic water conservation efforts by adopting Water Shortage Contingency Plan actions to reduce water usage up to 20 percent. CVWD increased its turf rebate from $2 to $3 per square foot and developed partnerships with local cities to provide matching rebates, which increased the turf conversion rebates to $6/sf – among the highest in the nation. CVWD committed $6 million toward conservation funding that is projected to remove 2 million square feet of turf with matching rebates of $4 million committed by city partners. Read more about California in the CRWUA Annual Report.