SoCal water reserves could dry up in 2016

SoCal water reserves could dry up in 2016


Demolition of water tower south baseThe nearby photo shows the recent demolition of a 160-foot water tank tower at Edwards Air Force Base northeast of Lancaster. Could it be a prophetic image for Southern California’s future?

The Associated Press reported the area’s regional water supplier, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, could be without reserves by early 2016.

The MWD supplies water to 19 million people in cities in six counties in Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.

This stark news is based on the announcement that the MWD already has drained two-thirds of its backup water supplies.

In May 2013, the MWD announced its reserves of 2.6 million acre-feet of water were “the fullest they’ve ever been.”  Going into the 2014 water year, MWD said it had adequate water reserves even after two consecutive prior dry years. But the long drought now has parched reserves.

MWD storageoOverview

The MWD mainly depends on its 800,000 acre-foot Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Riverside County for backup water supplies in the event of drought or emergencies. As of Sept. 22, current storage at Diamond Valley Lake was 401,000 acre-feet, or 51 percent of capacity.

Other MWD storage reservoirs are:

  • Lake Mathews near the city of Riverside. It has has 182,000 acre-feet of storage capacity. And as of Sept. 22, it had 59,194 acre-feet of current storage, or 33 percent of capacity. Lake Mathews is where water from the Colorado River is stored in Southern California.
  • Lake Skinner Reservoir near Rancho California. It has a total capacity of 44,000 acre-feet of water and was in better shape with 33,854 acre-feet in current storage, meaning 77 percent full.

MWD groundwater storage resources

MWD also has 350,000 acre-feet of potential water storage capacity in the Arvin-Edison Groundwater Storage District in Kern County.

There also are about 437,889 acre-feet of potential groundwater storage arrangements that the MWD holds in scattered water basins around Southern California.

The MWD also has arrangements with nine of its member water districts to store water in local groundwater basins.  This is called “conjunction use.”  As of July 21, 2013, about 67,400 acre-feet of water was held in these groundwater banks.

However, how much of MWD’s groundwater storage supplies may be available given the massive loss of groundwater due to evaporation during the 2014 drought remains to be seen.

Lake Mead storage

Instead of storing it in local reservoirs, the MWD also banks some of its allocation of Colorado River water in Lake Mead.  About 280,000 acre-feet of its 330,000 acre-feet of stored water may be withdrawn by the end of the “2014 water year,” which ends on Sept. 30.  About 50,000 acre-feet is available for carry-over into 2015.

North of Los Angeles, the state of California has three reservoirs where it stores water from the Sacramento Delta. The situation as of Sept. 23:

  • Castaic Lake, with 325,000 acre-feet of storage, was at 36 percent of capacity.
  • Pyramid Lake, with 171,000 acre-feet of water storage, was at 94 percent of capacity.
  • Lake Perris in Riverside County, with 131,452 acre-feet of storage, was 43 percent of capacity.

Grand total storage going into 2015

Excluding uncertain groundwater storage levels, as of Sept. 2014, MWD has about 494,048 total acre-feet of water in surface water reservoirs going into 2015, according to‘s calculations.

There are also about 384,264 acre-feet of water parked in federal and state reservoirs in Southern California.  Estimated total carry-over water going into 2015 is about 878,312 acre-feet, excluding groundwater storage.

All totaled, this would be enough water for about 5,269,872 people out of MWD’s 19 million-person customer base, or water for 28 percent of the population.

So if 2015 ends up another dry year, Southern California could be forced to have mandatory water rationing by 2016.


Write a comment
    NTHEOC 24 September, 2014, 21:16

    Ya Whatever! I’m not conserving water one bit. If its so bad then why do we see MASS development going on, especially out in the inland empire where water tenders are wetting down huge acreage, big commercial development going on everywhere, not only does it take a lot of water to build but then all this development will need to use water to! Also, just watch an angel or dodger game and you will see tons of water being used daily to wet down the dirt and field. Well, when you have the money like developers do then I guess water conservation goes out the door! So I will continue to run my sprinklers 3 times a day to keep my grass green, I will take nice long showers, wash my cars, and hose down my driveway. Untill I see the development stop and the govt crack down on big business and pro sports teams I will use as much water as I want!!!!!

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 25 September, 2014, 09:06

      Love the RAGWUS feeders when they turn on their own policies. The “water shortage” is created by the RAGWUS kooks for the sole purpose of raising the cost of water in order to generate private sector flow to the bureaucracies of the RAGWUS to fund their scheme. California has all the water it needs, the greed of the RAGWUS feeders is hiding it from the public. 🙂

      Reply this comment
  2. Queeg
    Queeg 24 September, 2014, 21:37

    I bet you really really would like to take the above rant back…….we are a part of a village……….conservation may save millions of jobs!

    Reply this comment
  3. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 24 September, 2014, 23:15

    I agree with NTHEOC. If the river beds, lakes and reservoirs are drying up then why are there dozens of large new home developments being built throughout the southland? When they put a moratorium on those developments I’ll stop taking my 10 minute showers.

    Oh, and if the sky is really falling why not secure the damned border and keep all the illegal outs? They consume lots of water too! If we don’t have adequate water for our citizens why are we giving it away to illegal foreigners? There are literally millions of them in California!

    Oh, and everybody with a swimming pool should have to drain the water for use on their plants and lawn until the crisis passes. Don’t scream at me for washing the car while you’re swimming in 15,000 gallons of fresh water. If you need to exercise run around the block a couple times.

    But I think a lot of this is pure hype. It’s my understanding that a strong El Nino condition has formed in the ocean and that we should get a generous rainfall this winter. But the government loves to scare us. Remember the scare about the swine flu? Now it’s ebola. Next year it will be something else. Just a matter of time before the color-coded terrorist alerts will return with the War on ISIS. They never leave us alone.

    Reply this comment
  4. T Mind of your Ted Godhead System
    T Mind of your Ted Godhead System 25 September, 2014, 06:43

    This is a great thread—–

    My tap is still wet—–I take long showers with supermodels—-mmmmmm—–there is no global warming—————-it rains every year——-the Roswell aliens have something to do with this— or WTC Building 7——

    Reply this comment
  5. Fred Mangels
    Fred Mangels 25 September, 2014, 11:07

    Wayne wrote, “However, how much of MWD’s groundwater storage supplies may be available given the massive loss of groundwater due to evaporation during the 2014 drought remains to be seen.

    I don’t get that part. How does water evaporate when it’s underground? I would think evaporation wouldn’t be much of a factor with groundwater until it’s brought to the surface…where it might be subject to evaporation.

    Reply this comment

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