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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Hector Gonzalez
Staff Writer

April 23, 2015 -- A representative from Southern California's largest water supplier will update Santa Monica residents on fast-evolving strategies for dealing with the drought this summer, the League of Women's Voters of Santa Monica announced.

Luis Cetina, who deals with government and regional affairs for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), will join Roberta Borgonova, chairwoman of the local League's Water Committee for “California Drought: What Is Being Done?,” an informational update on state and regional water policies.

The presentation will be held Saturday, April 25, in the multi-purpose room of the Santa Monica Main Library, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Although the meeting comes a week after the MWD’s Board of Directors voted to cut supplies to more than two dozen customer cities and agencies by 15 percent, starting July 1, the timing was purely coincidental, said Ann K. Williams, president of the local League

“We didn't have any special foreknowledge,” Williams said in an email, “but I did think we couldn't go wrong with a forum on water when we decided on this a few months ago -- it's such a major issue in this state.”

Locally, Santa Monica, which gets about 40 percent of its water from the MWD, is working to cut overall water use by 20 percent from 2013 levels by December 2016 through local ordinances.

So far, the city has imposed mandatory restrictions on how water can be used by residents and businesses, hired two water-saving inspectors to enforce the local regulations, and plans to implement a citywide water allotment program this summer that includes penalties for exceeding pre-determined limits.

At the state level, Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month ordered State Water Board officials to figure out ways to cut water overall use in the state by 25 percent.

To reach that level, the State Water Resources Control Board last week released a draft of  proposed emergency water conservation regulations which feature a sliding-scale system for determining how much cities and water agencies will need to cut back to reach the governor’s 25 percent goal.

Cities and water agencies that have done a poor job of cutting back over the past year will be required to reduce water use more than cities and agencies that have saved, officials said.
Cutting consumption statewide by 25 percent could “result in water savings amounting to approximately 1.3 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months,” State Water Resources Control Board officials said.

MWD officials will use a similar approach to achieve the 15 percent reduction goal, with cities and agencies seeing different reduction rates depending on “past water-saving actions,” MWD spokesman Bob Muir said last week.

California recorded the hottest year on record in 2014, and this year has seen some of the driest months ever, the MWD said.

Continued dry weather, along with a record-low snow pack in the Sierra Nevada this past winter, has many water experts predicting the state’s water resources will be especially strained this summer.

Admission to the League of Women Voters of Santa Monica’s water forum is free. For more details, visit http://www.lwvsantamonica.org/


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